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CPAC Censorship Project Named Semifinalist in Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program

Published: February 1, 2010

“Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted,” a project plan created by the Carpenter Performing Arts Center (CPAC) at CSULB to examine the history of censorship in Southern California, was recently named a semifinalist in the 2010 Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program.

Awarded by the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (Arts Presenters) and funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, CPAC and 30 other semifinalists (out of 150 original entries) received $7,000 to fully develop their projects’ concepts. All the projects will compete for 10 one- to two-year project grants ranging from $100,000 to $200,000 each. The winners will be announced in August.

“One of our goals at the Carpenter Center is to provide more avenues for performing artists to participate with and integrate into the academic departments of Cal State Long Beach and our larger Long Beach community,” said Michele Roberge, CPAC’s executive director. “This grant opportunity will provide support and impetus to forge new collaborations on campus and off to do just that. I am thrilled that our proposed topic—censorship and the response to it in Southern California— received such an endorsement and encouragement from the grant panel.”

The Creative Campus Innovations Grant Program supports innovative partnerships for projects that go beyond conventional practice and perspectives on collaboration and learning. The program also connects arts and non-arts constituencies through the creation of new interdisciplinary work and stimulates discussion and debate on such issues as creativity, knowledge transfer and community interaction.

The partnerships developed through the grant program also integrate the work of arts presenters across campus, including but not limited to, the academic curriculum and within the surrounding community.

“Banned, Blacklisted and Boycotted” will examine the history of censorship in Southern California through a variety of collaborative programs and activities to establish a more vibrant link between the activities of CPAC and non-arts academic life at CSULB and the community.

Selected by Art Presenters for its wide-ranging scope, the artistic goals for the project include the expansion and deepening of artists’ participation on campus and reaching students for whom the arts are an “undiscovered country,” according to Roberge. The project is also designed to increase the awareness of the value of creative expression, engage new urban audiences, increase visibility for participating artists and arts institutions, and potentially commission new dance work.

Artists will be selected for participation in the project based on the artistic merit of their work. They will also be chosen for the ability of their creative output to enhance the understanding of protected speech as well as the issues surrounding public access and/or funding for art that is considered unpopular or controversial.

“The issue of censorship and Southern California’s historical response to it is a far-reaching topic. With such broad appeal, this project will allow us to involve many other departments on campus and other community organizations,” said Roberge. “We hope it encourages many CSULB students and the general public to discover, or remember, what has been done in the past regarding censorship, and inspire critical thinking and discussion about current events. As this examination uses the arts as a primary avenue, it is a perfect fit to accomplish CSULB’s campus-wide goal of cultivating a ‘creative campus.’”

–Paul Browning