ODUS Arts Fellows Program Update

Monday, Dec 14, 2020
by Julie Shin, Communications Fellow

Tara Shaw 22“Being able to collaborate with people and see how passionate so many other Princeton students were to engage and volunteer their time to work with children on cool ways to incorporate art was really exciting and rewarding to see.” 

-Tara Shawa ‘22


Adapting to virtuality has been especially difficult for arts communities that thrive on face to face collaboration. It Eliyana Abraham 23was this challenge that the inaugural ODUS Arts Summer Fellowship hoped to tackle. In late June, four Princeton students were selected as ODUS Arts Fellows: Haydon John is a senior in the Anthropology department involved in a number of arts organizations on campus. Tara Shawa is a junior in the Sociology department and passionate about a number of art forms from singing to graphic design. Camryn Stafford is sophomore pursuing Economics and the founder of her own dance non-profit organization. Eliyana Abraham is also a sophomore and has long been a part of theatre communities on and off Princeton’s campus. 

 

“We were coordinating the overall curriculum and working with peer educators to do so.”

-Eliyana Abraham ‘23

Sample ODUS Arts Fellows Poster

Image: Sample virtual class schedule developed by the fellows with the help of Princeton student volunteers and distributed to Community House and POTN students.

For four weeks, the fellows dedicated their time to all aspects of arts accessibility, both during the pandemic and in the future. The majority of their time was spent designing and administering an arts enrichment program for young students of Community House and the Princeton Online Tutoring Network (POTN), two programs supported by the Pace Center for Civic Engagement. Each week, the fellows collaborated with other Princeton students to develop and offer a variety of virtual classes in dance, visual arts, theatre, and more. One class taught students how to break down components of popular pop songs, a big hit amidst the young audience. Another class taught comedy during which students tried their hand at acting in different short sketches. Developing the program’s curriculum was a multi-faceted process that required the procurement of many volunteers, new lesson plans, and coordination with administrative figures.

 

“We sent out a google interest form gauging

student group interest in what the EDI circuit would be.”

-Haydon John ‘21

The ODUS Arts Fellows were also involved in the development of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Haydon John 21programming effort, or EDI Circuit, one of ODUS Arts’ recent initiatives. They played an instrumental role in providing administrators like the ODUS Arts Program Coordinator, Jessica Bailey ’19, with information about student group interest in such an initiative. A survey, distributed to Princeton’s student arts groups, created by the fellows illuminated the varying needs of ODUS Arts groups. The insight into how the Circuit could best spark conversations about equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts helped structure what future discussions might look like.

 

“What was so beneficial from those conversations was looking at issues of accessibility from multiple different perspectives.”

-Haydon John ‘21

Perhaps the four students’ favorite part of the fellowship was their weekly group discussions. Not only was it aCamryn Stafford 23n opportunity to check in with one another, but also a space to have meaningful conversations about inequalities in the arts. The fellows were assigned weekly reading assignments by Bailey ‘19 that included literature on fair audition processes and safe rehearsal environments. They were then asked to create similar lists of readings/viewings that they believed the Princeton arts community could benefit from.  Over the four weeks, the virtual workshops were crafted with these concepts in mind.

 

“I was jumping at any opportunity to pursue anything arts-related.”

-Camryn Stafford ‘23

Arts prggram summer arts fellow

Image: Collage created by Haydon John ‘21 when tasked with “creating a vision board that reimagines what it would be like to reform arts education and administration at Princeton, or at an artistic institution that you were/are part of.”

For all of the fellows, their previous experiences in art or art education attracted them to the opportunity presented by the summer role. A few were interested in pursuing art-related service opportunities. Others were drawn to the position’s role in the Princeton art community’s process towards realizing a more equitable future. Regardless of their motivations, all four of the ODUS Arts Fellows cultivated a bright and active arts community during a time where community felt impossible. Their work as the first cohort of ODUS Arts Summer Fellows paves the way for all fellows to come.

 

“I think it was really cool to take experiences I’ve had before and apply them to this Princeton community, get my fellow artists involved in, and collaborate with people my own age in this environment.”

                                -Eliyana Abrahams ‘23