School of Education News

UW-Madison student Lighteard leading new Black Arts Matter Festival

March 06, 2019

The Wisconsin State Journal (WSJ) recently covered UW-Madison student Shasparay Lighteard’s work on leading the new Black Arts Matter Festival.

Lighteard, an undergraduate student working towards a degree in African American studies and a degree from the School of Education’s Department of Theatre and Drama, took the initiative last May to create a festival that celebrated black voices in the arts. 

Shasparay Lighteard
She decided she wanted to produce a showcase for black artists after taking a theatre production management course taught by Audrey Wax, a senior lecturer with the Department of Theatre and Drama, and an arts entrepreneurship course taught by Sarah Marty. 

While Wax, Marty, and Colleen Conroy, an assistant professor with the Department of Theatre and Drama, have advised her behind the scenes, the State Journal reports that Lighteard has been doing the legwork — securing venues and caterers, planning programming, and managing publicity. 

The festival kicked off on Monday with an art exhibit and panel discussion about Madison’s black arts scene, or lack thereof. On Wednesday, Edgewood College is hosting a one-person touring show. There will also be a film screening on Thursday at Central Library, and a poetry slam competition Friday and Saturday. All events will be free and open to the public. 

Lighteard tells WSJ that she believes that the “arts are the best way to educate people” and “that if you don’t have a space, you should create that space.”

Read WSJ's full story here.

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