UCSD art departments respond to racial events with daylong festival across La Jolla campus

The UCSD Department of Theatre and Dance will present the UCSD “Arts in Action Festival: Real Art for Real Change” from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on May 7 at multiple locations on campus. In response to the recent racial incidents and protests at UCSD, the festival will provide a forum for artistic responses featuring student and faculty work created especially for this event. 

Undergraduate and graduate students from across the campus as well as UCSD faculty and alumni are participating in this daylong arts and performance event. Admission is free.

In the longstanding tradition of arts activism, the “art actions” include short one-act plays, music compositions, dance performances, visual art displays, lectures, digitally interactive performance pieces, spoken word performances and staged historical protest performance marches.

There will be a forum for critical discussion featuring members of the university as well as artists from the San Diego community. 

Surprise performance works and “Arts in Action” dance flash mobs will take place throughout the week of May 3 leading up to the main event on May 7. Community art murals will be also by created by students at each of UCSD’s six colleges that week. The murals will be collaged together on May 7, with a new “Arts in Action” mural created live by Chicano muralist Mario Torero during the keynote forum. Students will be able to interact live online, uploading tweets and videos at

The May 7 festival will take place during the day throughout the campus, including on the Geisel Library Walk and in front of the Stuart Collection’s “Silent Tree” and the new “Chicano Legacy” mural at Peterson Hall. 

The festival will feature multiple theater, performance, spoken-word, music and dance works. Highlights include work by contemporary dance group bksoul; choreographers Sandra Foster King, Liam Clancy and Eric Geiger; composer Anthony Davis; Chicano theatre troupe Toma Teatro; visual artist Peter Terezakis; and the socially conscious on-campus art group Art Collective. In homage to the suffragette and women’s movement, the civil rights movement and the Farm Workers Union, performative protest marches will parade across the campus. 

A reading of “Obamanation” by Lou-Lou Igbokwe, the winner of the fourth annual Dr. Floyd Gaffney Playwriting Competition on the African American Experience, will take place at the Cross Cultural Center from 1 to 2 p.m. and an excerpt will be seen in the evening performance at the Mandell Weiss Theatre in the UCSD Theatre District at 6:30 p.m.

Beginning at 4 p.m., there will be a keynote panel discussion at the Mandell Weiss Theatre. The programming will continue until 8 p.m. with performances in the Weiss Theatre as well as throughout the UCSD Theatre District. The evening will conclude with an after party with DJ Shammy Dee from 8 to 10 p.m. 

The Arts in Action festival is organized by Artistic Director Jade Power, and a large group of student and faculty volunteers, and produced by Chair Allyson Green and the Department of Theatre and Dance. This event is generously supported by the Chancellor; Senior Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs; deans; Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs; Vice Chancellor, Research; college provosts; Alumni Affairs, Division of Arts and Humanities chairs; and the La Jolla Playhouse.

Basic “Arts in Action” schedule:

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: “art actions” across UCSD

2 to 3 p.m.: “Project Protest” performance marches

4 to 5:30 p.m.: keynote forum discussion

5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: interactions

6:30 to 8 p.m.: performances

8 to 10 p.m.: after party

For details and full schedule of events: