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Cut & Paste: It's 'a very white-dominated field': Adrienne Davis advocates for diversity in the arts

Adrienne Davis teaches law but she regularly cross-examines the status quo in a completely different field: the arts.

The Washington University law professor will receive an Arts Advocacy award from the Women of Achievement of St. Louis in a May 16 event at the Ritz-Carlton. The honor applauds her service on various boards including that of the St. Louis Art Museum and Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

But it also extols her efforts to infuse more racial diversity into the artistic pipeline, from art-makers to gallery attendants to curators to institutional leaders. In our latest Cut & Paste arts and culture podcast, we talk with Davis about her advocacy and why it matters.

Cut & Paste

Here's some of what you'll hear in the podcast:

  • About her role in encouraging young artists, especially those of color, to make art around current events: “They would say they were trying to blow the whole thing up and I would say, ‘Good for you!’ I want to stand in the sidelines and cheer them on.”

  • On the need for black representation in discussions like the recent one around the Whitney Biennial painting of Emmett Till in his coffin: “I think it’s incredibly important that we have a lot of voices in the room.”

  • How she dryly compares the vitality of her law papers to what her art-making contemporaries are doing:  “My stuff, my mother doesn’t even read.”

Look for new Cut & Paste (#cutpastestl) podcastsevery few weeks on our website. You can also view all previous podcasts focusing on a diverse collection of visual and performing artists, and subscribe to Cut & Paste through this link.

The podcast is sponsored by SPACE Architecture + Design.

Follow Willis and Nancy on Twitter: @WillisRArnoldand @NancyFowlerSTL

Please help St. Louis Public Radio find artists to feature on Cut & Paste. Tell us which artists and cultural themes deserve a closer look.

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.