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Arts for Social Justice

"Arts for Social Justice by SCU Presents is an engagement program which focuses on art that will be a catalyst for change in our community." Butch Coyne, Director

At Santa Clara University (SCU) the arts are integral to social change by helping individuals and our community understand disparity on a deeper and more emotional level. An artist has the power - and the responsibility - to shape both the mind and the hearts. By examining social injustice through a multidisciplinary lens, the arts foster change.

SCU Presents Arts for Social Justice (ASJ), a collaborative, interdisciplinary initiative, the mission of which is to raise awareness about critical issues addressing the human condition, inspires students to engage the world. Through the creation of and participation in a wide variety of art forms that promote dialogue and action both on and off campus, we educate students who will transform lives and society through their creative and intellectual energy and skills. Our hands-on activities encourage positive change by inspiring participants to use the artistic process to engage with individuals and address the broader contemporary challenges of our global society. Social justice is at the core of our University mission and the arts have reflected that ideal with performances in music, dance, and theatre, along with the visual arts servicing nearly 5,000 students and individuals in the community with such programming as:

  1. Misa de los Immigrantes, a work for chorus and orchestra to help raise awareness about issues with U.S. immigrants.
  2. One Billion Rising is a global day of dance to call attention about violence against women. A campus-wide dance concert was organized to educate the campus community on how to be actively involved in the prevention of abuse.
  3. Matthew Works, an artist who is homeless, demonstrates to SCU students through the visual arts how to address issue facing the homeless community.

ASJ develops creative competency by providing opportunities to bring together and involve Santa Clara University students, faculty, artists, staff, and the community to collaborate, develop, and present, through various art forms, events that will affect positive change in our community. Our goal is to have individuals actively participate in - not just observe - the art that addresses specific social justice issues encountered by children and adults, such as racism, homelessness, immigration, and bullying. Learning activities, which involve schools and the Silicon Valley community as a whole, is jointly developed from artistic works.

About SCU Presents

SCU Presents fosters opportunities on the Santa Clara University campus to teach students, engage audiences, and promote understanding through the arts. Created to facilitate artistic exchange between artists in the fields of dance, music, theatre and visual arts, SCU•Presents encompasses programming from the Department of Theatre and Dance, the Department of Music, and the Justice and the Arts Initiative, as well as visual art departments and select visiting artists series programming. In addition to presenting the works of these university programs, SCU•Presents serves an important role within the local community by offering affordable venues to Bay Area arts organizations and educators.

National Endowment for the Arts Grant