Our project hits the big time, with today’s entry in the NEA blog.
NEA: What is the Music, Authority, and Community program? How does it work and what are the goals?
FRANK: This is the brainchild of our academic colleagues and collaborators, Vanderbilt professors Jennifer C. Lena (Sociology) and Jonathan A. Neufeld (Philosophy), two totally wonderful and creative people. They secured what we believe is the first ever research grant to support the commissioning of a work of art by someone outside the university, convening panel discussions, classroom presentations, and contributing to scholarly research at the same time. In doing so, a new model was created of how collaboration can work when you unite professional musicians, academia, and the larger community into one team. I was privileged to be at the center of this program, as someone who believes deeply in “mestizaje,” which is the idea that cultures can come together without one subjugating another. Yet, while I was at the center, I was also only one facet of this entire project, where authority in defining Latino identity was comfortably in the hands of all of us.
Needless to say, Gabi is as smart, funny, warm, and wonderful as she appears to be in her writing.