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School of the Arts Spotlight

Every few weeks, we feature an outstanding faculty, staff or student from the School of the Arts.

This semester, the School of the Arts welcomes Krista Franklin, the 2016-17 Artist in Residence. She is collaborating with four members of the University community for "Sanctuary: A Performance." Head over to the Holland Project at 7 p.m. March 16 for an art performance that addresses issues of our times.

Artist and poet Krista Franklin is looking for sanctuary

Krista Franklin

Chicago artist Krista Franklin will explore the idea of sanctuary during her residency in the art department at the University of Nevada, Reno.

More than a physical space, Sanctuary seeks to deepen the understanding of the term, to encompass the body and mind as sites of safety, the sacred and refuge. Franklin's work is an inquiry into the intersections between the secular and the sacred. It is a contemporary quest for space (whether physical or mental) where the transcendent and the ecstatic exist.

"Where are the spheres of connection with self and our fellow citizens?" she said. "How and where do we access ... sites of peace and harmony with self and others? Sanctuary is preoccupied with revealing, recreating and making transparent those sites."

Best known for her work in Afrofuturism and Afrosurrealism, her work emerges at the intersection of poetics, popular culture and the dynamic histories of the African Diaspora. To express her vision, she uses various mediums such as collage, papermaking, letterpress printing, altered books, installation, spoken word, music collaborations and performance.

"I heard Ms. Franklin give a spoken word performance, and I have seen some of her visual work in person," said Inge Bruggeman, assistant professor of art. "She has a powerful voice, and she has something important to say through her work that is unique to this moment and time, and made even more relevant by current issues. Her work embraces the past, acknowledging the work of others - such as Toni Morrison, Octavia E. Butler and Romare Bearden - as a foundation to build her own visual and literary commentary and narrative about the world we live in."

Franklin is the 2016-17 School of the Arts Visiting Artist-in-Residence. In October, she visited art classes and was swept away by the work being produced by the students. She is looking forward to build relationships with students, staff, and faculty across the different departments in the School to create her work. She will be working toward the creation of a new body of work that will be collaborative and performative in nature, involving several artists associated with the University.

Franklin states "in an ideal world, I would like for my work to open people's minds to ways of finding harmony in our lives so that we can begin to have the courage to do the work that is necessary to create the world that we want to live in."

The School is committed to bringing artists to campus with several different programs, including the Artist-in-Residence program. It devotes $20,000 per year to this activity, which rotates yearly among each of the School's three departments - art, music, and theatre and dance.

"The program is pivotal in bringing fresh perspectives to the University community," Bruggeman said. "Having Ms. Franklin on campus and in conversation with the community will bring current, contemporary artistic practices and ideas right to our doorstep."

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University of Nevada, Reno

University of Nevada, Reno
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