CARE Committee presents "Equity in the Arts: How To Move Beyond the Language of Inclusion" panel discussion on February 10

The School of Theatre and Dance CARE (Community, Anti-Racism, and Equity) Committee presents "Equity in the Arts: How To Move Beyond the Language of Inclusion," a panel discussion on the need for increased awareness in creating a more equitable environment in the arts, on Wednesday, February 10 at 5:30 p.m. via Zoom. Moderated by assistant professors Gregory King and Grace Keenan, the panel features presenters Laurel Lawson, Jerrilyn Lanier, and Richard Costes.

The discussion will focus on how advocacy for and pursuit of equity requires us to move beyond using inclusive language and commit to action that creates equity and accessibility for all. Specifically, the panel will explore how 2020's racial justice reckoning can be extended into enacting change in the arts and society at large beyond race and gender to include disability disenfranchisement and more.

How to Attend

The panel discussion will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, February 10 at 5:30 p.m. 

RSVP to Attend the Equity in the Arts Panel

About the Panelists

Richard Costes
Richard Costes
is a Chicago-based actor, director, and accessibility consultant.  Selected roles include Snout in Midsummer Night's Dream at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Bosun in Mosquitoes (U.S. Premiere) at Steep Theatre Company, Arjun in Opportunities of Extinction (World Premiere) at Broken Nose Theatre, Jeff in Lucy and Charlie's Honeymoon (Our Perspective Series) at Steppenwolf Theatre, and Rev D./Baby in In the Blood (Jeff Nominated - Best Ensemble) at Red Tape Theatre.  Richard was one of 10 recipients of a 3Arts Award in 2019 and is also a 2020 ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Member.  A 2006 graduate of Kent State University (B.A. Theatre) he has presented at Gallaudet University’s symposium on Visual Shakespeare and was a panelist and member of the 2019 Deaf Theatre Action Planning Session hosted by HowlRound at Emerson College and now sits on the board of the National Theatre of the Deaf.

Description of Corresponding Image: Richard Costes

Jerrilyn Lanier
Jerrilyn Lanier
has her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre. She also holds a Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design and Production from The University of Alabama. Roll Tide!   Jerrilyn has costume designed at the Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival, Millbrook Playhouse, and film on the Gulf Coast. She also does freelance wig work and has worked in the wig department at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Last year ( 2019)  she traveled to 8 universities to give in-person workshops for Bridging the Gap. Jerrilyn has given 33 university workshops on Zoom this fall semester (2020). She is currently a adjunct professor at The University of Mobile.   Bridging the Gap means so much to Jerrilyn. It is a true passion project. Bridging the Gap has opened the door to some important conversations that were missing in the theatre industry. 

Description of Corresponding Image: Jerrilyn Lanier



Laurel Lawson
Laurel Lawson
is a choreographic collaborator, dancer, designer, and engineer with Kinetic Light. She is the primary costume and makeup designer, and in collaboration with Top End’s Paul Schulte designed the wheelchairs that she and Alice use in performance, as well as contributing other visual and technical design. She is also the product designer and lead for Audimance, the company's app which revolutionizes audio description for non-visual audiences. 

Realizing that dance combined her lifelong loves of art and athleticism, Lawson began her professional dance career with Atlanta’s Full Radius Dance in 2004. She continues to work with Full Radius Dance as well as Kinetic Light and her independent practice. 

Laurel's choreography is marked by intensive partnering and grounded technique. Bringing the nuance of disabled artistry, she creates work for all ensembles including nondisabled, disabled, and physically integrated companies. She often weaves together abstract and concrete themes with overarching mythological inspiration, with focus on engaging and immersive audience experience, and her work was recognized with a 2019-20 Dance/USA Artist Fellowship. Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists are made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 

Beyond the studio, Laurel is the CTO and co-founder of CyCore Systems, a boutique engineering consultancy which specializes in solving novel, multi-realm problems of all sizes for a global clientele. A noted public speaker and teacher, she speaks on a range of technical topics as well as on leadership and executive practice, culture and equity, and how to cultivate creativity and drive innovation. Lawson is also a member of the USA Women's Sled Hockey Team. @worldsoflaurel

Description of Corresponding Image: Laurel Lawson

About the Moderators

Grace Keenan
Grace Keenan
 is an Assistant Professor of Costume Design/Technology as well as a freelance Tailor/Draper. Grace received her Master of Fine Arts in Costume Design/Technology from Pennsylvania State University and her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design/Production from Kent State University.

Prior to joining the Kent State faculty full time, Grace served as Part-Time Faculty for four years.  During her tenure as Part-Time Faculty she developed six new courses for the costume area to help expand their offerings in the costume production.   Grace has worked as a freelance Tailor/Draper for the past six years with credits at Carnegie Mellon University, Great Lakes Theatre, The Cleveland Playhouse, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, and Baldwin-Wallace University.  She has over 40 credits to her name as a Draper and Tailor including DeathtrapSweeney Todd, Intimate Apparel, and The Plague of Venice.

Description of Corresponding Image: Grace Keenan



Gregory King
Gregory King
 is a culturally responsive educator who received his MFA in Choreographic Practice and Theory from Southern Methodist University and is certified in Elementary Labanotation from the Dance Notation Bureau.  His dance training began at the Washington Ballet and continued at American University. He has participated in the Horton Project in conjunction with the Library of Congress and has performed with The Washington Ballet, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, New York Theatre Ballet, Donald Byrd /The Group, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, New York City Opera, and Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway.

King contextualize the relevance of black dance aesthetics and cultural signifiers through research, writing, and public presentation and his current research project, titled “Digital Activism: Black Bodies Reclaiming Public Spaces,” combines the disciplines of dance, movement analysis, literary criticism, social psychology, and anthropology. In collaborations with Chris Cole, King is a Knight Foundation grant recipient and their project titled “Nine Lives,” premiered at the Rubber City Jazz and Blues Festival in Akron, Ohio in 2019.

He has taught master classes, lectures, and workshops nationally and internationally. He has served as dance faculty for Texas Ballet Theatre and Boston Ballet, as well as visiting assistant professor of dance at Temple University, and visiting assistant professor of dance and Consortium on Faculty Diversity Fellow at Swarthmore College.

King is  a dance writer for The Dance Enthusiast, ThINKingDANCE, The Philadelphia Dance Journal, CHOICE Review, and Broad Street Review. Recently, Mr. King’s response to the Dancing for Justice Philadelphia event, was selected to be included in the U. S. Department of Arts and Culture’s new resource guide, “Art Became the Oxygen.”

In addition to having served as the creative communication coordinator for the International Association of Blacks in Dance, King has served on the dance review board for the National Endowment for the Arts, was nominated for a Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio and was recently appointed to the Board of OhioDance. He is the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Creative Contribution award from the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kent State University, and will serve as Provost Faculty Associate for the academic year 2019-2020. He is currently participating in the National Arts Strategies “Art and Cultural Strategy Executive Certificate Program” through the School of Public Policy at The University of Pennsylvania and recently started his Ph.D. studies in Curriculum and Instruction at Kent State University where he is a tenure track professor of dance and is the artistic director of the Kent Dance Ensemble.

Description of Corresponding Image: Gregory King

Description of Header Image: From left to right, Jerrilyn Lanier, Laurel Lawson, and Richard Costes

POSTED: Monday, January 25, 2021 - 5:42pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 4, 2021 - 2:21am