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Representation and 21st Century Responsibilities in the Performing Arts

A Panel Discussion

March 31, 2017


Asia Society Texas Center

1370 Southmore Blvd
Houston, TX 77004

Free with RSVP.

If art is a mirror to society, how much should that mirror reflect current demographics?

Houston is wielding its diversity as an international calling card. We are the most racially diverse cosmopolitan area in the country, and our current demographics reflect the future composition of most of America’s cities. If Houston’s culture—art, food, music, dance and theatre—is encompassing of this, what is the arts community’s responsibility to reflect and own this 21st century reality?

As part of an ongoing national discussion about race and representation recently re-ignited by HGO’s recent production of Nixon in China, Asia Society Texas Center hosts a panel discussion and public conversation. The panel uses the lens of Asian and Asian American identity to surface ideas of representation, voice, and creative interpretation. The panel and conversation will discuss recent trends, organizational realities, audience reactions, and items for future action such as:

  • When is cultural heritage open to interpretation or utilization in metaphor?
  • What are whitewashing and yellowface?
  • In what ways do creative license and practical realities in artistic decision making conflict with concerns of cultural appropriation?
  • How can arts organizations provide historical and creative context that addresses their multiple publics?
  • What is the role of critique in this conversation?
  • How do Houston’s arts leaders respond to an increasingly vocal community that demands fair representation?

For background and context, we've developed a selected list of articles and resources.

presented by Asia Society Texas Center, Houston Grand Opera, and the Center for Art & Social Enagement 

Moderated by: Sixto Wagan, CASE Director

Panelists include:

Pia AgrawalProgram Director, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts
Ryan Speedo Green, Bass-Baritone Opera Singer
Shih-Hui ChenDepartment Chair, The Shepherd School of Music, Rice University
Patrick SummersArtistic and Music Director, Houston Grand Opera
Steven WuCo-Director, Houston Asian American Pacific Islander (HAAPI) Film Festival 

More information about the panelists.

This conversation will be livestreamed via HowlRoundTV.