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Music, poetry, image will come together in Atkinson Forum

Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Alicia Hall Moran and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
From left, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Alicia Hall Moran and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon.

How do black women artists engage with each other’s work? The Atkinson Forum for American Studies explores this question in “Throughline,” a multimedia performance of music, poetry and image featuring four African-American women artists. The performance will be held Tuesday, March 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the Kiplinger Theater, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. The show is free, and the public is invited.

“Throughline” was inspired by mezzo-soprano and composer Alicia Hall Moran’s album “Heavy Blue.” Moran will sing compositions from her album, accompanied by instrumental tracks and soundscapes, intercut with poems by Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon and Rachel Eliza Griffiths, both Cave Canem fellows. Many of these poems are new works in specific response to Moran’s songs. Moran has also devised new sung works based on several of Van Clief-Stefanon’s and Griffith’s poems.

“This rich collage of language, sound and music is framed by the backdrop of a stunningly lyrical videoscape created by Rachel Griffiths from material filmed during a weekend-long video shoot with all the Throughline artists,” said Van Clief-Stefanon, associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences and a National Book Award finalist. Her poetry books include “Open Interval and Black Swan,” winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, as well as “Poems in Conversation and a Conversation,” a chapbook in collaboration with Elizabeth Alexander.

Moran is a multidimensional artist performing across the genres of classical opera, theater, visual art and jazz; her work has been performed at the Whitney and Venice biennales. Griffiths is poet and photographer known for her literary portraits, fine art photography and lyric videos.

“Throughline” also features poet and sound artist LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, a Whiting Award recipient whose interdisciplinary work has been featured at the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, among others. Samuel Buggeln, artistic director of Ithaca’s theater company The Cherry Arts, consulted on staging.

The Atkinson Forum in American Studies is held twice a year and brings individuals and groups to campus to enrich the curriculum of the American Studies Program and the cultural life of the university. It is sponsored by David R. and Patricia D. Atkinson.

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli