Taye Diggs Lunches with CAS Students, Faculty
Artist-in-Residence takes performance break to get to know SCU community
Riley O’Connell ’19
On April 9, ten faculty and students in the College of Arts and Sciences joined Sinatra Artist-in-Residence Taye Diggs and his illustrator and lifelong friend Shane W. Evans for lunch and conversation in the Adobe Lodge, just hours prior to Diggs and Evans’ evening reading and book signing in the de Saisset Museum.
Attendees Natalie Elam ’19 (Anthropology and Studio Art), Maya Kaneko ’19 (Anthropology and Political Science), Abby Nairn ’21 (Classics), Ally O’Connor ’20 (English), Kaitlyn Ohara ’19 (Communication), Michelle Bezanson (Anthropology), Kirk Glaser (English), Robin Nelson (Anthropology), Nicole Opper (Communication), and David Popalisky (Theatre and Dance) utilized the chance to connect with the two artists and discuss their experiences in an intimate setting.
“It was a great way to bring everyone together,” said O’Connor, the incoming Editor in Chief to the Santa Clara Review, who was flattered and impressed by Diggs’ deliberate efforts to make individual conversation with each attendee, particularly the students. “He had a genuine interest in my life and that of all SCU students — he told me he loved talking to young people and learning about all the unique things we are doing,” she said. “From what I can see, he appears to really enjoy the engagement aspect of his role as Sinatra Artist-in-Residence.”
Diggs, a renowned actor known most famously for his role as Benny in RENT, closed out the evening with songs and readings from his and Evans’ books, Chocolate Me! and Mixed Me!, books inspired by the respective childhood experiences of both Diggs and his son, whose identities Diggs and Evans wanted to both represent and celebrate in children’s literature.
[Diggs] talked a lot about his son [at the lunch] and the joys and challenges that come with being a parent. Family seems very important to him, and it was so nice to meet not just the talented actor and writer, but also the proud parent.