Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The School of the Arts is committed to nurturing a creative environment where students, faculty, and staff of all backgrounds can work together and thrive. Over the past several years the School has continued to focus on attracting a diverse faculty, staff and student body while working to increase scholarship funding. The School has also committed a great deal of its extensive public programming schedule at the Lenfest Center of the Arts, and elsewhere, to issues of race and anti-racism by collaborating with multiple partners including the Wallach Art Gallery, individual departments, and a wide-range of local and City organizations.

While we are aware that the issues of race and anti-racism are longstanding, we are actively attempting to acknowledge, understand, and transform them. My hope is that we can work collectively towards creating an environment that honors the rich diversity of our community and one that is in full support and respect of each other.

Faculty, Student, Staff Subcommittee

In Spring 2019, the School of the Arts Executive Committee established the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee in order to address school-wide challenges and opportunities around equity, diversity, and inclusion in both the academic and co-curricular life of the school. Comprised of faculty, students, and staff, the subcommittee began with the following initial goals:

  • Provide support for faculty, students, and staff to promote the schools' continued commitment to diversity and inclusion

  • Strategic school-wide interdisciplinary initiatives and programming

  • Sharing resources and experiences across the programs

  • Efficiency in the School of the Arts' commitment to diversity and inclusion, i.e., avoiding the need to "reinvent the wheel" for each program

  • Serve as a clearing house for resources, including research and university and outside programming 

  • Assessing and making recommendations to the Dean of the School

News, Events and Community Programs

The School of the Arts hosts, cosponsors, and provides space for a number of community events, programs, and initiatives. Some examples are listed below. We are committed to these collaborations that celebrate diversity and its importance to ensuring that communities are inclusive and thrive.

Many events, programs, and in-kind donations of Lenfest space to community organizations that include Bridge Lab/The Boys and Girls Club of Harlem, The Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center (NYPL), The Studio Museum in Harlem, West Harlem Group Assistance area artists, tenant associations, public schools and students, local government bodies, and elected officials.

A focus on the concept of To Transform by this year’s Public Programs series that engages issues of immigration, sanctuary, climate justice, race, and representation. The series is organized in collaboration with partners such as the African American and African Diaspora Studies Department, the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia Water Center, the Institute for Latin American Studies, the Institute for Research in African-American Studies, the Tenement Museum, the People's Theatre Project, and programs in urban planning and policy at Columbia University.

IMPACT Repertory Theater 
Professor Jamal Joseph is the artistic director of this Harlem-based organization. The School of the Arts offers rehearsal space to IMPACT in Prentis Hall. “IMPACT Repertory Theatre Performance Company is a safe space where young people use current events and their own personal experiences as material to explore the issues facing young people in America.”

The Young Company
“For almost 15 years, The Young Company has been forging a dynamic relationship between the MFA Acting students of Columbia University School of the Arts and the youth of New York City....Through a community partnership with The Classical Theatre of Harlem, each year Columbia's third-year MFA Acting students present a 90-minute production of a Shakespeare play that is designed specifically for young audiences.”

Columbia Artist/Teachers (CA/T)
Founded in May 2002, Columbia Artist/Teachers (CA/T) is a faculty of MFA Writing candidates. It provides MFA teachers with training and teaching opportunities on and off campus, with students of all ages and levels. “We collaborate with local schools and various community organizations in New York to establish no-cost arts education programs designed specifically to the needs and goals of the institutions.” Recent teaching sites include Rikers Island, Hudson County Correctional Facility, Double Discovery Center, Columbia Veterans Workshop, and Breaking Ground (Prince George). CA/T is advised by Professors Alan Ziegler and Dorothea Lasky.

As the only venue of its kind on the Columbia campus, Miller Theatre hosts and provides high quality, professional production support for a wide variety of events produced by local community organizations as well as University schools, departments, and institutes. Recent collaborations with community organizations include the following: East Side Dance Company, Every Voice Choirs, Harlem Opera Theatre, Harlem Chamber Players, House of the Roses Volunteer Dance Company, League of Composers/ICSM, New York Theater Ballet, Reel to Reel African Diaspora Film Festival, School in the Square, Soh Daiko, While We Are Still Here (WWSH).

Launched in 2012, Morningside Lights is an annual outdoor procession featuring dozens of lanterns built by members of the Morningside community during a week of free public workshops. A co-production of Columbia University’s Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre, Morningside Lights is conceived of and directed by Processional Arts Workshop (PAW) under the direction of Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles. Students, families, and members of the community come together to attend a week of workshops, learning the artistic techniques of Kahn and Michahelles and bringing a fleet of illuminated lanterns to life with an evocative theme each year. To date, nearly 12,000 attendees have participated in workshops and processions. 

Ongoing and recent collaborations with community organizations include the following: Arts and Culture Committee of Community Board 9, Down to Earth Farmers Market, Frederick Douglass Boulevard Alliance, Friends of Morningside Park, Harlem Arts Alliance, Harlem Grown, Harlem One Stop, Morningside Area Alliance.

Uptown Triennial Art Show, opening Fall 2020, commemorating the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance
Uptown People's Assembly: Facing the Raging Pandemics, brought together activists, artists and scholars from the Upper Manhattan community