NKU School of the Arts Hosts Community Conversations

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, KY- – Northern Kentucky University’s School of the Arts (SOTA) launches a Summit Series, a new virtual roundtable. Led by SOTA’s Michael Hatton and Daryl Harris, the series hosts guest professionals in the arts to prompt conversation and the exchange of ideas.

The first topic kicked off on October 7 with Experiencing Race in the Arts: Battles and Biases. Harris and Hatton talked with Gee Horton, a visual artist and Mercantile Library’s first African American Artist-in-Residence, Jaime Morales-Matos, a music director of Central Ohio Symphony, and Darnell Pierre Benjamin, a dancer, director, choreographer, educator with Pones and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.

“We need to provide our students with opportunities to respond to the events, movements, especially the Black Lives Matter Movement, and subsequent climate around the heightened racial tensions this summer,” said Harris.

The next session begins on October 28 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss Arts in the Age of Me Too: Women in the Arts. Guests include Meghan Bennett, NKU faculty member and a classical flautist, Kim Popa, NKU alumna and executive director and co-founder of Pones, which provides artistic opportunities for community growth by creating engaging new ways for audiences to experience dance, and Kayla Upthegrove, NKU alumna and the first African American female jazz saxophonist to work in Greater Cincinnati.


The final session of the Summit Series is on November 18 at 7:00 p.m. The final topic focuses on Equity and Allyship: LGBTQ+ in the Arts. Along with a student panel, Ronnie Gladden breaks down his diversity leadership work and research. Dr. Gladden coined the term, transgracial theory, which embodies the intersection of the transgender and transracial phenomena. Dan Davidson, aka Sparkle Leigh, will join Dr. Gladden. He recently was quoted in Cincinnati Magazine as saying, “Remember to breathe. Maybe that’s enough, that little reminder to keep grounded and keep going. When I wasn’t able to be that, Sparkle was.” 

Community members are invited to join SOTA’s Summit Series. To learn more and to register, visit the NKU Theatre + Dance Facebook page.

About NKU Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students’ names. For more information, visit nku.edu.

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