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ArtPower’s New Season Brings International Acts To UCSD

Reported by Anica Colbert

UC San Diego released its 2019-2020 season schedule for the performing arts series, ArtPower. Associate Director Molly Clark met with KPBS Evening Edition Anchor Ebone Monet to talk about the new season, and what the art series means to UCSD.

Q: Explain ArtPower to those hearing about it for the first time.

A: ArtPower is the presenting arts organization at UC San Diego, meaning that we bring artists from all over the world to perform on campus in the genres of dance, chamber music, jazz, American roots, global music, and some special events as well. In addition to what the artists do on stage, we also have them engage with students in the classroom, and in masterclasses and workshops to enhance the academic experience of students through creativity.

Q: What are some of the highlights for the 2019-2020 season that just got announced?

A: This year our special events focus on prominent and brilliant authors. We're going to have Samin Nosrat, who is the chef and author of Salt Fat Acid Heat, and also the Netflix host. And she's actually a San Diego native, so it'll be a homecoming for her. We'll have Deirdre Bair who is a famed biographer. She's written about Al Capone, Simone de Beauvoir, and other really interesting characters in our history. We'll be welcoming back David Sedaris who is always a fan favorite. We have our Global Music Series this year. It's focusing on artists who are modernizing Asian musical traditions. So taking traditional Asian music instruments, and then sort of flipping them on their head and innovating with them.

In our most participatory event that we've ever had at ArtPower, we'll be inviting a group called Choir!Choir!Choir. They are two artists who form impromptu choirs. People show up. They don't have to be professional singers. They learn a song together. They rehearse and they create the concert on the spot. So the audience becomes the artists, and we're actually going to be doing that concert on the border. So our choir of participants will be formed in both the U.S. and in Mexico.

Q: What is ArtPower’s main goal?

A: I think the overall goal for ArtPower is to enrich the cultural landscape of UC San Diego but also our San Diego community. We're trying to present artists who spark dialogue and discovery, whether it's through the culture that they're representing, the creativity that they're using in their particular discipline, or the identities that they represent.

Q: Why is it equally as important to be rich culturally in the arts?

A: We hope that these artists from off campus also inspire them, our faculty members and our students, to encourage them to be more creative in whatever academically rigorous environment that they're in. That's why we feel it's so important to connect the artists with students beyond the stage. Sometimes those are the most rich experiences that we have with the artists when they're here in town.

Q: San Diego gets the bad reputation of not having enough culture. Do you think that ArtPower helps turn that around?

A: I sure hope we do. I think that we're really striving to make San Diego more of a cultural destination. I think that that's helped by all of the work that's happening with other arts organizations, and artists in San Diego. I've lived here for almost 15 years and I've seen the progress culturally, and artistically. It's really exciting to be a part of this new movement in San Diego.

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