California State University, Dominguez Hills President, Thomas A. Parham

On Wednesday, November 18, California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) President Thomas A. Parham hosted Consequential Conversations: A Dialogue with mixed media visual artist, Toni Scott. The virtual conversation launches a strategic creative partnership between Scott and CSUDH exploring her artistic background, influences, and plans for upcoming projects.

“In our quest to become a model urban university, CSUDH is positioning itself as the source for culturally rich and currently relevant information which the arts help us achieve through the visual expressions and renderings by the artists themselves,” stated Parham.

“This new CSUDH-Toni Scott collaboration represents a meshing of individual and institutional souls creating energy that feeds the other in reciprocal ways, and provides the broader community with a lifeline to its past, present, and future.”

“I believe art can be a tool for change and I’m so excited to be able to have this partnership and to use art in that form to change lives,” said Scott

“Death at the Hands of the Police” by Toni Scott

Scott was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, and is of African American, Native American, and European heritage. Most of her installations, exhibitions and individual works reflect her multi-cultural heritage.

“Bloodlines,” is a visual exploration of American slavery, which debuted at the California African American Museum in 2009 and later traveled overseas. In 2016, Scott became the first international artist with a solo exhibition at the Changzhou Museum in Jiangsu Province of China with “The Circle and Cycle of Life,” focusing on Indigenous culture, feminism and technological advancements of the 20th century.

Currently, Scott is among artists whose works are featured in the group exhibition, “Emergency on Planet Earth,” which opened in October at the United Talent Agency’s Artist Space. She is also co-hosting the current lecture series “Art as Protest” at the Skirball Cultural Center.

“This semester, the university entered into a strategic partnership with Ms. Scott to inspire our community to explore art through emblematic, historical and cultural themes,” said Dr. Stephanie Brasley, dean of CSUDH Library. “This partnership begins a relationship that will open avenues of innovative, academic and co-curricular endeavors.”

Scott shared some of her thoughts on working on future projects with CSUDH and how it feels coming back to the South Los Angeles area.

Mixed media visual artist, Toni Scott

“In some ways, I feel like the prodigal daughter returning to home, finding support from being an outsider to being part of a family,” said Scott. “Our partnership and the advancement, and mutual interests serves what I’ve always aspired to—advance humanity.”

She continued, “And lifting, being a part of the community, seeing the development and dreams becoming reality, is a testament to the excellence of [CSUDH].”

CSUDH’s history of upholding social justice weaves perfectly with Scott’s art and how it perceives the human connection. She reflected on how her multi-cultural background and life have influenced her artwork and the purpose it gives her.

“From my earliest memory, race has always played a role in my life. From the unspoken color line of restrictions and discrimination, to my experience being bussed from Los Angeles to Westchester… to witnessing the Watts Riots, to grieving over the loss of so many people of color at the hands of police… and visiting museums and there, I witnessed the absence of indigenous people, who represent my world.”

Scott continued, “I just have this feeling, [a] call to serve, seeing a need, and seeing that I have the ability to address these concerns and also pay homage to my ancestors is what has inspired my work to date and going forward.”

“The Black Indians” by Toni Scott

Through the partnership with CSUDH, Scott will share her work with students to increase understanding and critical examination of significant historic and present-day themes. One anticipatory endeavor will be Scott working with students around her “Phrenology of Pseudoscience” exhibition, composed of interactive sculptures that translate the measurements of one’s head into music. Students will join Scott in exploring the narrative that inspired the creation of this work— the idea of “measuring” people.

Multiple projects are being scheduled: including exhibitions, a Presidential – Artist Talk and a collaborative live painting/musical performance with the renowned conductor, Charles Dickerson III and the Inner-City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.

“I can guarantee you this, [CSUDH] is an inspired place and I know there is going to be a whole new body of work that’s going to be produced as a part of this relationship.”

Scott’s engagement with the CSUDH campus begins this fall and will open a new window of innovative academic and co-curricular endeavors.

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