SMWC presents "From Reconstruction to Ragtime: Images of African-Americans in the Arts"
On April 5, the Music and Theatre Department at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, with the assistance of a grant from Arts Illiana, will present "From Reconstruction to Ragtime: Images of African-Americans in the Arts." The presentation will feature two programs that examine race-relations and popular culture during and after the reconstruction following America's Civil War.
The first program will begin at 3 p.m., with a panel of experts who will lead an open discussion on topics including the history of reconstruction and the abandonment of southern African-Americans, the birth of Ragtime and the Cakewalk, and the troubling legacy of the "coon song."
In addition, there will be a short film from the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia and an open forum on how to deal with racist historical images.
At 7 p.m., a theatrical performance will give audience members a glimpse into the lives of two singers, one white and one black, who were major stars from 1880-1920.
The performance will feature Anita Dashiell-Sparks, a professional actress based in New York and Los Angeles.
Dashiell-Sparks, who is making her third appearance at SMWC, has graced the stage on Broadway in "Night Must Fall" starring Matthew Broderick and "The Sunshine Boys" starring Tony Randall and Jack Klugman. She has also appeared in numerous off-Broadway and regional theatre productions, and her television appearances include "Huff," "Friends," "The West Wing," "The Division" and the Hallmark film "McBride: The Doctor Is Out." She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Performance at the University of Southern California School of Theatre.
Other featured performers in the production will include Sharon Ammen, associate professor of theatre at SMWC; Susan Anthony, associate professor of theatre at DePauw University; and SMWC students Elizabeth Ortiz and Valentine Soposky. Ronald Maurey will accompany on piano.
All programs will be held in the Cecilian Auditorium of the Conservatory of music on the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Campus.
The foyer of the SMWC Conservatory of Music will also have an exhibition of art, sheet music covers and photography, which will be available for viewing all day on April 5.
All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call the SMWC Music and Theatre Information Line at 812-535-6211.