Five students were selected as the inaugural JustArts Fellows, an Arizona Arts equity initiative to advance diversity and inclusion in the arts by asking student leaders to identify challenges and propose creative solutions.
The inaugural cohort includes Ariana Aquino (School of Dance); Joshua Barbre, Carlos Garcia Ramirez, and Dorthea Stephenson (Fred Fox School of Music); and Dylan Crites (School of Theatre, Film & Television).
“We are happy to welcome these student leaders to the inaugural cohort,” said Amy Kraehe, Arizona Arts‘ associate vice president, equity in the arts. “I look forward to seeing their progress and to support these students as creative change agents.”
JustArts Fellows named for student-driven equity projects
Proposed projects are expected to address an organizational issue encountered on campus by Arizona Arts students and turn it into an opportunity for change.
“Fellows will work together to present fresh ideas, put those ideas into action, and demonstrate new and existing skills,” Kraehe said. “These impactful projects will educate, inspire, and connect members of Arizona Arts and the broader community.”
Fellows receive a $6,000 award with an additional $1,500 in supply/execution budget.
The program was created in collaboration with students serving on the Arizona Arts Diversity and Inclusion Committee, including Seoyeon Kim, Cat Cogliandro, Arianna Aquino, and Lynn Robinson.
School of Theatre, Film & Television, BA
Dylan Crites is a Junior studying Theatre and Computer Science. Originally from the El Paso-Juárez area, he is also an avid writer of plays, books, screenplays, and the occasional video game.
Crites has been heavily involved in the theatre scene at the School of Theatre, Film & Television, and you might recognize them as Death from the Next Performance Collective rendition of “Everybody” by Brandon Jacobs Jenkins or from the “Magic Hour 2022” short films. He is also an active member of InVisibility, taking part in their SALON as an organizer and performer, and was one of many dramaturges the New Direction’s Festival.
- Dylan Crites will develop an accessible performance group to address the scarcity of theater opportunities for BIPOC and Queer students as well as those who live at the intersections of those identities.
Carlos Garcia Ramirez
Fred Fox School of Music, BFA
Carlos Garcia is a senior at the Fred Fox School of Music, studying music education. He performed in the Fred Fox Graduate Wind Quintet (2019-2021) as bassoonist. He is originally from the Yaqui tribe community in Sonora, Mexico, born and raised in Guaymas, Mexico.
Garcia began his musical studies when he was 10 years old at Fray Ivo Toneck Arts Foundation in Guaymas. He became the principal bassoonist for The Young National Orchestra of Mexico (2009 – 2012). In 2012, he was a founding conductor of Orquesta Sinfonica Esperanza Azteca Sonora. He was recognized as the “youngest orchestra conductor” of Mexico. He was nominated for the honorific title by the former President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto. Garcia met with Nieto and discusses ways to improve the musical education in Mexico. In 2018, he created La Caridad Symphonic Orchestra; a special music education program in Nacozari, Sonora. Garcia is the Executive President of Instituto Cultural Mexicano De Tucson and is an active board member of Tucson LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce Foundation. In 2020, he participated as a speaker at the Association of Academic Programs in Latin America and The Caribbean (AAPLAC) symposium in Tucson, Arizona.
- In a project titled “Breaking borders, making bridges,” Carlos Garcia Ramirez will increase awareness, knowledge, and understanding of Mexican music and culture in the borderlands.
Fred Fox School of Music, BFA
Dorthea Stephenson is seeking a bachelor’s degree in viola performance at Fred Fox School of Music, where she studies with Dr. Molly Gebrian. An avid advocate for underrepresented voices in classical music, Stephenson was part of a team of musicians from across the country to develop a database for underrepresented composers who have written viola repertoire. The database is currently on the American Viola Society website and has over 500 composers and nearly 1600 pieces.
She has performed with the University of Arizona Philharmonic, Arizona Symphony Orchestra, Desert Violas (a viola ensemble), and various chamber ensembles. She loves classical music and would like to have a studio someday where she can share her love of viola and music with other underprivileged students free of charge. Stephenson is passionate about sharing the gift of music with underprivileged students in hope that music provides as much peace and solace as it does for her. She also hopes to continue to pursue a graduate degree in viola performance and a career as an orchestral musician.
- Dorthea Stephenson’s research based project, “Beyond Europe,” will catalyze conversations about how to diversity and decolonize standard music repertoire.
School of Dance, MFA
Arianna Aquino is an MFA candidate at the School of Dance. She earned a BFA in dance from CalArts in 2007. She has had a professional dance and acting career and off Broadway, in film, and television. For 10 years in Brooklyn, N.Y., Aquino built, directed, and taught a Title I high school dance program.
She served as the chair of the arts department and was the arts instructional coach. Arianna is passionate about equity, diversity, and inclusion, serving on the Arizona Arts D&I Committee. She founded and directs her JustArts Fellowship project, DEI Dance Gatherings, at the School of School. Arianna desires to build and mentor performance artists and educate audiences to be aware and connected to the world and humanity. Her work is an expression of true-to-life human experiences. It is based on representation giving exposure and voice to the stories and experiences of the underrepresented. She wants the art and artists she develops to have a lasting impact on all that witness and are a part of the creative experience.
- Arianna Aquino’s “DEI Dance Gatherings” are intended to created safe empowering spaces for students.
Fred Fox School of Music, PhD
Joshua Barbre is a PhD student in musicology at the Fred Fox School of Music. His research interests include music of the United States, specifically hip-hop and music curriculum development. His dissertation project addresses the impact of breaking as an Olympic event in the 2024 Paris games for current dancers, calling into question the difference between dancer/artist/athlete and if current practitioners of hip-hop dance believe that breaking should be included in the Olympics.
Prior to Arizona, Josh was a music educator in Saint Louis, Missouri, at a school for immigrants and refugees, where his work earned him the 2021 Educator of the Year. He earned a degrees in ethnomusicology at Arizona (masters, 2018), music education and music history at the University of Missouri – Columbia (bachelor’s, 2015), and arts at St. Louis Community College (associates, 2011). If he is not researching or traveling, he is most likely playing the newest Pokémon game.
- Joshua Barbre’s project connects the local hip hop community with the University by organizing events to teach students graffiti, rap, and breaking. This will dovetail with the Tucson Hip Hop festival.