IC Color: Students Plan ‘Artistic and Uplifting’ Response to Campus Conversations about Diversity and Inclusion

By Stephen Shoemaker, April 13, 2016

Students Plan ‘Artistic and Uplifting’ Response to Campus Conversations about Diversity

A student-led initiative called IC Color will celebrate the panoply of identities that make up the Ithaca College community. The week-long event running from April 17-22 will focus on typically underrepresented populations, with an entire day devoted to recognizing each.

Events will include concerts, an art exhibit, an open mic night, activist theater, slam poetry, food tastings and speakers. All are free and open to the public.

IC Color was initially conceived by senior Namarah McCall, a voice major in the School of Music who is also minoring in integrated marketing communications. She has been active in the POC (People of Color) at IC movement that, last fall, called on the college to take a long, hard look at how people of color experience Ithaca College and how the campus environment fell short in demonstrating inclusivity and respect.

That movement has ushered in numerous and on-going initiatives, positive discussions and changes in understanding at IC. McCall said she wanted to create something that celebrates the progress made and the willingness of the campus community to be open, honest and listen to concerns about race, representation and inclusion.

“I really wanted to have an artistic and uplifting response to it,” she said.

McCall’s first idea was for a concert, but she recognized that would provide limited scope. "I realized we needed more time. If we’re going to create something that's supposed to be an impact on our campus, a two-hour concert is not enough."

With input from several friends who became her core team of organizers, the concept was expanded into a week-long festival, with each day given a specific focus:

Monday, April 18 will be dedicated to mental health and folks living with disability; Tuesday, April 19, will recognize the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community; Wednesday, April 20, will focus on self-reflection—how people view themselves and the IC community; Thursday, April 21, will be devoted to people of color; and Friday, April 22, will shine a spotlight on feminism.

McCall’s original plan for a concert will kick everything off at 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 17, in the Park Hall Auditorium. The show will feature performances by student musicians, spoken-word poets and dancers. The mix of art forms is meant to be a symbolic reflection of the intent behind IC Color. 

"It's this synthesis of creativity within people's specific skills, and showing that [although] these varied experiences might seem too distant and set apart, they actually can come together to create something quite beautiful," she said.  

In a further testament to the inclusivity and cohesion at the heart of IC Color, the organizers worked to incorporate many of the programs or activities already planned by several student organizations. McCall also hopes to turn IC Color into its own established student organization so that IC Color becomes a yearly event. She also hopes that future iterations look nothing like this inaugural version, and will be a reflection of what the campus community needs and wants to see each year.

"One of the things that I really hope IC Color will continue to do is listen first and then create,” she said.

The full list of IC Color events:

Kick-Off Concert
Sun., April 17, 6 p.m.
Park Hall Auditorium

Reducing the Stigma of Mental Health with Dr. Paul Mikowski
Mon., April 18, 10-11 a.m.
Clark Lounge, Egbert Hall

Peggy R. Williams Difficult Dialogues Art Exhibition
Mon., April 18, 6-9 p.m.
Klingenstein Lounge, Egbert Hall

Genderless: Breaking the Binary of Gender Expression HiFashion Gallery
Tues., April 19, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
McDonald Lounge, Egbert Hall

Breaking Stereotypes hosted by Spectrum
Tues., April 19, 7 p.m.
Location to be determined. Email nmccall1@ithaca.edu for additional information.

IC Color Partners with the Student Government Association (SGA)
Wed., April 20, 2-4 p.m.
Clarke Lounge, Egbert Hall

Conversations with Public Safety
Wed., April 20
Location and time to be determined. Email nmccall1@ithaca.edu for additional information.

Pathways Workshop with Dr. Paul Mikowski
Wed., April 20, 4-5:30 p.m.
VIP Room, Athletics & Events Center

IC Color Open Mic Night Takeover
Wed., April 20, 9 p.m.
IC Square (Pub), Phillips Hall

MLK Scholars Senior Presentations
Thurs., April 21, 1-2 p.m.
Clarke Lounge, Egbert Hall

J.R. Aquino Concert
Thurs., April 21, 7-9 p.m.
Klingenstein Lounge, Egbert Hall

“The Large Minority” Forum Theater Performance
Thurs., April 21, 7 p.m.
Studio 1, Dillingham Center

Flavors of Color Tasting Party
Fri., April 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Klingenstein Lounge, Egbert Hall

IC Spit That! Spring Showcase
Fri., April 22, 7 p.m.
Park Hall Auditorium