Leave a comment

THIS Bridge: Arab, Middle Eastern & Muslim Artists

Presenting Series

Art2Action Inc., in collaboration with the University of South Florida (USF-Tampa), presents THIS Bridge…

NEW! Visit our THIS Bridge VIMEO page!


Art2Action, in partnership with the University of South Florida (USF), is one of 6 grantees in the nation awarded a “Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement” grant from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP).

Our “Building Bridges” program will introduce students, partners and audiences to the great diversity of Muslim and Arab identities, cultures and aesthetics, by presenting a series of (mostly) women performers and artists in multiple disciplines, over a two-year period. Our title, THIS Bridge: Arab, Middle Eastern & Muslim Artists, references seminal writings in women of color feminism (This Bridge Called My Back and later This Bridge We Call Home, as well as Colonize THIS! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism), and locates the self-representation of contemporary Arab and Muslim women artists within that historical discourse.  Guest artists in the presenting series will each spend a full week in Tampa, on campus and in the community. Artist residencies will include performances, film screenings, exhibits, class visits and workshops, Festival appearances, facilitated dialogues, academic lectures and panels to engage students across an array of departments, institutes, and student associations.

The primary activities will include performances, workshops and academic events.  Lebanese American theatre artist, Andrea Assaf, will be Artist-in-Residence and guest faculty with the USF School of Theatre & Dance.  For the presenting series, beginning Spring 2014 and continuing through the 2014-15 season AND BEYOND, Art2Action will co-curate a series of residencies with artists who demonstrate artistic excellence across a variety of aesthetics and disciplines. The goals of this series are to educate, provoke, surprise, move, and inspire. The inclusion of artists with both traditional and complex identities will work to dispel stereotypes, counter mainstream media images and Arab-Muslim conflation, and stimulate transformation of attitudes, views and relationships across communities. In alignment with Art2Action’s mission, artistic presentations will followed by opportunities for academic discourse and intra-community dialogue about gender, including contemporary Arab and Muslim feminisms, identity, and U.S. policy.

Partnering departments and units include:  The School of Theatre and Dance, Anthropology, Communications, English, Government & International Affairs, The Humanities Institute, The Institute on Black Life, Women’s & Gender Studies, World Languages Arabic classes, The School of Art & Art History, The School of Music, The Institute for Research in Art/Contemporary Art Museum (CAM), and USF World’s Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies.  Collaborating student associations include the Arab Cultural Association (ACA), the Muslim Student Association (MSA), and more.  Community partners include the Arab American Community Center (AACC), which produces annual Arab Festivals in Tampa and Orlando.

We launched the presenting series in SPRING 2014, with the following guest artists:

March 17-22 Potri Ranka Manis, Artistic Director of Kinding Sindaw, Melayu Heritage Dance & Music Troupe, and musician Malaika Queano, spent a week with Tampa community & campus partners.  Activities included workshops for local veterans, refugees and survivors of torture, USF Dance class visits, a family workshop for Muslim mothers & daughters, and more.

April 7-12Leila Buck, Lebanese American actress & playwright, visited USF Theatre classes and presented In the Crossing: Open Studio & Dialogue, April 10th @ the USF School of Theatre & Dance.  Media artist Adam Abel also joined campus & community workshops, discussing his new documentary QALQILYA.

FALL 2014 Artists & events included:

August 28  — Negin Farsad Comedy Show — Thurs, 8:30 PM @ USF Marshall Student Center, Oval Theatre.  With guest appearances by local artists, and Middle Eastern food provided by the Arab Cultural Association (ACA).

August 29The Muslims Are Coming!  Film screening — Friday, 7:30 PM @ University Lecture Hall (ULH 101), followed by a discussion with co-producer, Negin Farsad

September 8 & 10Eleven Reflections on September, featuring Aida Shahghasemi & Andrea Assaf Multimedia Spoken Word meets Middle Eastern music in this unique concert performance — Monday & Wednesday,  8 PM @ USF School of Music, Barness Recital Hall.

October 5 & 7Donna Mejia, transnational fusion dance artist specializing in North African & Arab dance forms, mixed with Hip Hop and Electronica … Special guest appearance at the VETERANS OPEN MIC on Oct 5, 6:30-9 PM @ Sacred Grounds Coffee House; followed by an exclusive lecture-demonstration on Oct 7, 12:30-1:30 PM @ USF School of Music, Barness Recital Hall.

November 6-15 USF Fall Dance Concert, featuring choreography by Donna Mejia @ Theatre 2, Tampa Campus

December 3 & 5 “Building Bridges” Devised Theatre Workshop performance, exploring themes of culture, religion, gender, and U.S. policy. USF students perform their own original work, developed in this special course, open to all majors (2014 only!):  Selected Topics in THEATRE: “Building Bridges” Devised Theatre Workshop (THE 4930). — Wed & Fri, 8 PM @ USF Theatre, TAR 120

Spring 2015 events included:

February 15-22Progress Theatre, under the direction of Dr. Cristal Chanelle Truscott, who recently received the Doris Duke Impact Award for Theatre.  Look for them at the “Images, Movements, and Engagements in Africa and the Diaspora,” a conference sponsored by the USF Institute on Black Life, on Feb 19-20.  On Saturday, February 21, at 3 PM, they will present their newest work, The Burnin’ at the USF School of Theatre & Dance, in Theatre 1, followed by a dialogue & reception.

March 15-22 Heather Raffo, Iraqi American playwright, will be in residence and will present work-in-progress of her new libretto.  Guest artists include composer Tobin Stokes, Syrian opera treasure Lubana Al Quntar, and much more!   March 20, 7:30pm, Fallujah: A Concert Performance, at the USF School of Music, Concert Hall.

April 1-10National Poetry Month Celebration!  Don’t miss our extraordinary line-up on April 9th, featuring award-winning poets Tahani Salah and Amir Rabiyah, hosted by Tampa Bay’s own Andresia “Real” Poet, with DJ Cotton!  The week begins with a special panel in partnership with the USF Humanities Institute and English Department, featuring poet Naomi Shihab Nye!  Events include:

  • Wednesday, April 1, 6pmArab American Poets Panel with Naomi Shihab Nye, Amir Rabiyah and Tahani Salah.  Moderated by Andrea Assaf.
  • Sunday, April 5, 6:30-9pm Veterans Community Open Mic @ Sacred Grounds
  • Monday, April 6, 4pm Visual Art Reception, USF Women’s & Gender Studies
  • Thursday, April 9, 8pm NATIONAL POETRY CELEBRATION @ The Oval Theatre, USF Marshall Center, co-sponsored by the Arab Cultural Association. With host Andresia “Real” Poet and DJ Cotton!


September 25 — Art Talk by Egyptian graffiti artist & muralist, Aya Tarek.  FREE event!  3:30pm @ FAH 290 (University of South Florida, College of the Arts).  Drop by the Contemporary Art Museum, Sept 25-30, to see Aya painting a new work on campus!

September 28 — Film Screening: The Microphone, featuring Egyptian graffiti artist Aya Tarek.  FREE event, with popcorn!  7:30pm @ The Oval Theatre, USF Marshall Center (2nd floor)

OCTOBER 1 — World Premiere of a new painting by Aya Tarek!  With FREE Middle Eastern food and fantastic DJs!  7-9pm @ the Contemporary Art Museum, USF.

October 19-23 — Heather Raffo visits USF!  OCT 20, 3:30pm — special lecture with Heather Raffo, on cultural diplomacy and her work as an artist, hosted by the USF Department of Government & International Affairs at USF World, Patel Center for Global Solutions.

 NOVEMBER 12-15 & 19-22 — 9 Parts of Desire by Heather Raffo, performed by a 16-member cast, in collaboration with the USF School of Theatre & Dance.  Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, and Sundays at 3pm, @ Theatre 2, USF.  For TICKETS and details, visit:  theatreanddance.arts.usf.edu

Special Events:

Live Music with the Five Stars Band!  Nov 19 & 20, 7 PM @ Theatre 2

Post-show Dialogues with the cast & director Andrea Assaf – Nov 19, 20 & 21

9parts ThisBridge image

Spring 2016 Events:

February — Egyptian muralist Aya Tarek returns to USF!  Join us for an informal soiree at Graphic Studio, February 22nd, with DJ Cotton!

March 29 — A special evening with Bina Sharif, celebrating 30 Plays in 30 Years!  Originally from Pakistan, Bina Sharif has been an artist-in-residence at Theater for the New City for decades.  She’s a diva of the downtown NYC theatre scene, an extremely prolific playwright, a visual artist, and a fabulous actress!  Bina will perform excerpts of her plays, and read new work in progress, followed by a Q&A with the audience, moderated by Andrea Assaf.  Co-sponsored by the Pakistani Students Association (PSA), join us for free refreshments at 7:30pm, opening with a live performance of songs from Pakistan.

Bina Sharif 1

Stay tuned for more 2016-17 programming… Visit this page often for updates & details!

READ USF’s Announcement!




This project is made possible in part by a grant from Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Building Bridges: Campus Community Engagement Grants Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and  child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.

The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art is an operating foundation funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The mission of DDFIA is to improve the quality of people’s lives through the study, understanding and appreciation of Islamic arts and cultures. Based in New York, the Building Bridges Program is a national grant making program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

DDFIA_color      Doris_Copper_RGB

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: