Santa Clara University

arts and sciences banner

Who We Are

. . . fostering a culture in which the arts and social justice become an integral, vital dimension of campus life.

who-we-are small

The Justice and the Arts Initiative (JAI) began in the Fall of 2007 as an incubator for the arts and social justice on campus and in the community. The purpose of the JAI is to create an intellectual frame of reference for examining and fostering artistic processes that are critically bound to issues of social justice, and to support practices and methods of developing artist-activists at SCU. To this end, the Justice and the Arts Initiative engages artists of the highest caliber, both locally and internationally, who work in all mediums, including film, visual art, literary arts, spoken word, music, theatre and dance, and who have dedicated their lives to issues of social justice. Art and the artistic process are transformative in their nature, and more and more the arts are being engaged as catalysts for understanding, education, community healing, identity claiming, historical memory, cultural celebration and livelihood, healing and psychological benefits, activating the political process, as well as for their universal and original purpose, explaining and shaping society.

The JAI Guest Artist Series features new and returning artist-activists each quarter, and has an international focus. Featured in the Guest Artist Series has been such world-class artists as playwright Erik Ehn, director of the Arts in the One World conference, painter Claudia Bernardi with the Walls of Hope | Open Studio of Perquin, El Salvador, and theatre/dance artists Mauricio and Cindy Salgado of ASTEP – Artists Striving to End Poverty. The JAI Guest Artist Series provides an opportunity for a full spectrum of interaction with some of the world's most articulate, committed artists through enriching public conversations and lectures, interviews and through interactions with SCU students in workshops, rehearsals and in the community.

In order to keep students up-to-date on all of the latest activity around campus having to do with justice and the arts, look for JAI ZA events, where we gather for pizza and informal presentations from our many affiliated student arts groups, all doing significant outreach and community building with our local schools and neighborhoods. Some of the student groups that JAI has mentored include Arts Reach, Teatro Catalina and Ballet Folklorico de SCU. JAI also celebrates the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. every January with its collaboration called Jazz Has a Dream, and innovative and inspiring evening bringing together some of the Bay Area's best jazz musicians in a multi-media concert of images from the social justice protests of Dr. King's times and our own.

The Justice and the Arts Initiative supports the mission and goals of the university by engaging, fostering and creating a more just and humane world through the arts.

The JAI is Co-directed by Kristin Kusanovich and Carolyn Silberman, with Robin Jigour as Administrative Assistant.

Please visit us in MDF 223, the second floor of the Music and Dance Facility. For more information on upcoming events send us an email:


Justice & the Arts Initiative Guest Artist Series | 11-12


What A Stranger May Know

A Play by Erik Ehn, Directed by Kristin Kusanovich & Michael Zampelli

Monday, 4/16/2012 7:30am
St. Ignatius Lawn
@Santa Clara University

32 commemorative plays for each of the fallen victims of Virginia Tech.  


Burning Vision

A play by Marie Clements, directed by Courtney Elkin Mohler.

March 1-4 & 7-10, 2012;
Wed. & Thurs. 7:30pm,
Fri & Sat. 8pm, Sun. 2pm.

Louis B. Mayer Theatre
@Santa Clara University

For tickets please call the box office: 408-554-4015
  • Interdisciplinary Panel Discussion, 3/6/2012 Tuesday, 5:30-6:30pm FREE!
  • Post Performance Discussion, 3/7/2012 Wednesday, 7:30pm show and 9:30pm discussion.
Presented by the Department of Theatre & Dance, JAI and the Center of Performing Arts.
Printer-friendly format