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Theater & Performance Department Chair Awarded Arts Grant

November 2017

Spelman Faculty Aku KadogoAku Kadogo, chair of the Department of Theater & Performance, is the recipient of a $64,000 Knights Arts Challenge grant. A performer, theater director, choreographer and educator, Kadogo along with renowned poet and playwright Jessica Care Moore was selected by the Knight Foundation for a grant the pair will use to advance their theater production, “Salt City — We the Ones.”

Developing Works That Address Societal Issues

"Salt City" is an afro-futuristic fantasy that takes place in the salt mines located below the city of Detroit and in a 2071 Detroit. The production, directed by Kadogo and written by Moore, is a riveting tale of love, gentrification and the future that features the music of several Detroit techno giants. In April 2015, Kadogo premiered “Salt City” as a work-in-progress to culminate her term as a Spelman Distinguished Visiting Scholar. Last year, the pair teamed up with AUC students once again to stage the popular work during Family Weekend.

Paving the Way for Theatrical Excellence and Innovation

Spelman's Aku Kadogo Receives Knight Foundation GrantEmerging from close to 900 submissions, Kadogo and Moore's work was one of 29 ideas to be named winners of the 2017 Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide initiative funding the best ideas for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts. According to the organization's website, "The $1.87 million in funding will enable Detroiters to share their stories through the arts, and lift up the voices of their fellow residents living across the city’s many neighborhoods."

“The Department of Theater & Performance wants to incubate more new work,” said Kadogo. “I hope this award will encourage students to continue their willingness to boldly step out, develop their ideas and create new, experimental work that can potentially be developed for longer life.” Kadogo is also exploring creating a project internship for a Spelman student.

In 2018, "Salt City" will be presented in collaboration with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

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