The Arts Reflect Who We Are feat. Dean Phylicia Rashad
When faced with federal cut backs and potential lack of funding in education, the fine arts always seem to be the first discipline on the chopping block. So what are we missing when it comes to the full value of the fine arts? And why especially, does it seem like black artists always have to fight for recognition? We’ll dig into it today with Dean Ohylicia Rashad
Phylicia Rashad is the Dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard University. An accomplished actor and stage director, Rashad became a household name when she portrayed Claire Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” a character whose enduring appeal has earned her numerous honors and awards for over two decades. She continues to dazzle on screen and on stage with an extensive career in theatre as well.
Rashad has served as guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member, conducting master’s-level classes at many colleges, universities and arts organizations at Howard University among many others.
She sits down with host Frank Tramble to discuss how Black Culture and fine arts are intrinsically tied together, art as an inspiration for change, reflects on the prominent roles and moments in her storied career, and how the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts will continue to change the world around us.
HU2U is a production of Howard University and is produced by University FM.
On choosing to pursue greatness despite the lack of recognition
[02:02] A hundred years from now, nobody will remember who won a Grammy this year but a well-written song will still be sung. A beautiful poem will be remembered and have its effect. A great play will expound on themes that could still resonate a hundred years from now. And a film, a really good film will inspire youth to dream higher and higher and higher. It's the work that counts.
Art is life itself
[11:29] In museums, we see works of art that depict a starry night. We see works that depict workers in the field. We see works that depict birds in flight, but it's because art is life itself. So, like breathing, we take it for granted.
Why do people miss the full value of fine arts?
[10:22] People miss the value of it because we live in it all the time and take it for granted. Nature's the greatest artist of all when we look at a landscape and its changing colors within a season. We take it for granted because it happens every year when we perceive a sunrise. Even though the sunrise is different every single day, how many of us really take the time to breathe and take that in to observe those colors? The brilliance of them that is happening is why, naturally, we live in art. Our bodies are works of art.
On playing a role that made a huge impact
[21:35] A young man made his way through a crowd. He was from Germany, to tell me, "Before your show, we had nothing growing up in Germany," he said, "we had nothing." When your show came, we had everything.
- Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts
- Bisa Butler
- Dominique Morisseau
- Esther in August Wilson's “Gem of the Ocean”
- Genesis: The African American Experience in Art, The Ronald W. and Patricia Turner Walters Collection
- Give | Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts
- Cathy Hughes School Of Communications
- Logan Coles
- A Mercy by Toni Morrison
- “This Little Light of Mine”
- John Biggers Quilting
- Revelations by Alvin Ailey