The 2017–18 season of Visions and Voices has come to an end. It has been a whirlwind of a year with more than 125 events, including an exciting kickoff at the brand-new USC Village featuring a concert with Chicano Batman; an exhilarating performance by the Vancouver-based dance company Ballet BC; a week-long residency with one of Mexico’s leading photographers, Graciela Iturbide; an awesome Trojan Family Weekend concert and conversation featuring the legendary band The B-52s; a conversation between USC’s MacArthur and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen and acclaimed actor John Cho; a passionate concert featuring Maya Jupiter, Medusa, and other artists/activists whose work is also a call for social justice; a provocative exploration of music and medicine with world-renowned opera soprano Renée Fleming and USC neuroscientist Antonio Damasio; and a moving chamber music concert that beautifully remembered the life and legacy of Matthew Shepard, who was killed because he was gay. These and so many other Visions and Voices events this season revealed the power of the arts. More than entertainment, these events delved deep into the core issues of society and reminded us of the need to connect with each other as human beings.
We will announce the 2018–19 season in June. In the meantime, I’m excited to offer a sneak peek of what’s to come. We will launch the thirteenth season with our annual “SPARK!” event featuring a performance by incredible movement artists Lil Buck and Jon Boogz. Other dance highlights include performances by the dynamic L.A.–based dance company CONTRA-TIEMPO, Dwight Roden and Desmond Richardson’s groundbreaking Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Philadelphia’s celebrated dance company PHILADANCO!, and a powerful work by Sankofa Danzafro from Colombia. We will also present an evening with “calligraffiti” artist eL Seed; a concert on climate change with Native American hip hop artist and activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez; a presentation by Kamila Shamsie, London-based author of the acclaimed novel Home Fire; a conversation between artist/author Art Spiegelman and The New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly; an evening with actress Isabella Rossellini; a conversation between bestselling author Roxane Gay and Rise founder and CEO Amanda Nguyen; and a spectacular event that will bring Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to life through animation, film, interactive media, and live performance.
I am grateful to the Visions and Voices staff, volunteers, faculty committee, and deans’ council for their hard work and commitment to Visions and Voices throughout the year and for contributing to an outstanding series of events. I also want to thank Provost Michael Quick and President C. L. Max Nikias for their strong and steadfast leadership and support. And I thank the students of USC for supporting and participating in Visions and Voices. This initiative was created for you, and we thank you for making the arts and humanities an essential part of the Trojan experience.
Congratulations to the graduating class of 2018, especially Visions and Voices student coordinator Dominique Corona and Visions and Voices volunteers Sharon Chen, Jairett Epperson, Luella Fu, Yi Hou, John Vincent Hernandez, and Yunhan Yang! The V&V team and I are proud of you and we will miss you! We hope that the arts and humanities continue to be a vital part of your lives this summer and beyond. And for those who will be returning to USC in the fall or will be joining the university for the first time, we look forward to seeing you on August 16 at “SPARK!” Have a wonderful summer!
USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative
May 1, 2018