Brown Arts

Brown Arts Institute Announces IGNITE, a Series of Interdisciplinary Arts Projects Anchored by Large-Scale Imaginings and Collaborative Residencies

Inaugural Projects Feature Carrie Mae Weems, William Kentridge & The Centre for the Less Good Idea, Tanya Tagaq, Chachi Carvahlo, Kym Moore, Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz, and Others

IGNITE Launches in Fall 2023 with October Dedication of The Lindemann Performing Arts Center, Brown University’s New Hub for Performance and Creative Incubation

Providence, RI, May 3, 2023 — This fall, Brown Arts Institute (BAI), a university-wide arts research enterprise that serves as a campus resource and catalyst for the arts at Brown University, will launch IGNITE, a series of interdisciplinary, collaborative, impactful projects centered around the possibilities of art as a vehicle for societal change. The inaugural series, launching in fall 2023 and running through fall 2024, is anchored by six large-scale imaginings and collaborative residencies: Carrie Mae Weems (fall 2023); William Kentridge & The Centre for the Less Good Idea (spring 2024); Tanya Tagaq (spring 2024); Chachi Carvalho (summer 2024); Kym Moore, Professor of Theatre Arts & Performance Studies at Brown (fall 2024); and Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz (fall 2024).

These boundary-pushing projects will activate the Lindemann Performing Arts Center, a new arts venue located in the heart of Brown’s Perelman Arts District, and designed by REX/Joshua Ramus, with a radical approach to spatial, acoustic, and technical flexibility. Brown will celebrate the opening of the Lindemann in October 2023, marking a transformative new chapter for the arts at Brown.

IGNITE is conceived by BAI’s inaugural Artistic Director Avery Willis Hoffman, and, in addition to the above projects, will feature work proposed and produced by the arts departments at Brown; Open Call projects by students, faculty, alumni, and Providence based artists; and BAI collaborations with other Brown units, including the Data Science Initiative, Brown University School of Public Health, and Carney Institute for Brain Science.

“IGNITE provides a platform for catharsis, creative incubation, and exploration of the human experience,” said Hoffman. “The dynamism of The Lindemann and its locality on a research-based university campus inspires a sustained programmatic vision and responsible resourcing of innovative projects, and, importantly, the necessity for providing refuge for artistic exploration through longer-term residencies and integrated arts pedagogy.”

Informed by its mission to support, amplify, and add new dimensions to the creative practices of Brown’s arts departments, faculty, students, and surrounding communities, and rooted in a practice of rigorous arts research, BAI has been assembling an Artistic Innovators Collective, a fluid group of around 40 artists across disciplines who convene regularly on campus and work closely with campus communities through various teaching opportunities, research support and grants, and the presentation of a range of work from early ideas to full scale commissions.

The Artistic Innovators Collective, in various iterations, are informing the development of BAI’s integrated artistic and academic programming, including through the upcoming IGNITE series. Through BAI’s Artist@Work courses, students have the opportunity to learn through direct encounter with artists the many and varied research and development processes artists use to advance their thinking, enactment, and refinement of in-progress works. Recent and upcoming collaborations include Theaster Gates (Artist@Work pilot: spring/fall 2022), William Brittelle (Artist@Work: fall 2022), Murielle Borst-Tarrant (Asst. Professor of the Practice: fall 2022, spring 2023), Carrie Mae Weems (Agnes Gund Professor of the Practice of Art & Social Justice, Artist@Work: spring 2023), and Okwui Okpokwasili (Asst. Professor of the Practice: fall 2023), among others.

In addition to the Artistic Innovators projects, IGNITE includes programs proposed by the arts departments at Brown, including:

  • A reimagining of George Houston Bass’ Providence Garden Blues for a contemporary audience (Africana Studies/Rites & Reasons Theatre)
  • A lecture series that culminates in a symposium on the role of light in art and architectural history (History of Art & Architecture)
  • A cluster of events around the theme of “sustaining life on earth,” centered around the waterways and watershed of Providence (Literary Arts)
  • A Media Ecologies and Infrastructures Conference that will ignite and expand how we perceive and understand media environments and the arts at Brown and far beyond (Modern Culture & Media)
  • Three performance-residencies with acclaimed guest artists, each of which crosses disciplinary boundaries to explore ways in which music forms community, cultivates creative expression, and examines the relationship of humans to their physical and spiritual environments (Music)
  • A two-day gathering of performing artists and scholars highlighting the ways Brown’s TAPS department successfully integrates practice and theory in its curriculum (Theatre Arts & Performance Studies)
  • An exhibition in a pop-up space in Providence’s Jewelry District featuring work from faculty, staff, students, and invited guests from the local arts community (Visual Arts) 


2023-2024 IGNITE Artistic Innovators programs

Carrie Mae Weems: Varying Shades of Brown (November - December 2023)
Building on past collaborations, esteemed artist Carrie Mae Weems and Avery Willis Hoffman (Artistic Director of Brown Arts Institute) have spent the past few years deepening a complex and evolving conversation around the artist’s career-long reflection on the history of violence in America. Varying Shades of Brown, an ambitious biennial-esque project, will activate Brown’s campus throughout Fall 2023, featuring new and existing works for The Lindemann, David Winton Bell Gallery, Cohen Gallery and other sites across Brown’s public spaces and Public Art program. Weems’ hallmark convening series continues for a fourth iteration on campus, highlights include collaborations with artists, activists, community organizers, students and Brown faculty.

William Kentridge & The Centre for the Less Good Idea (Spring 2024)
Embracing the central methodologies of The Centre for the Less Good Idea – collaborative making, free-spirited engagement with materials, the act of allowing oneself to be led by image, sound and impulse – William Kentridge and members of The Centre invite participants from across the Brown community to join in surfacing, rupturing, re-reading and activating the heavy histories and enduring realities. The Centre asks: How do we begin to look at an image collectively? What are the ways in which a visual archive – entrenched in the heavy histories – begins to speak? In provoking and surfacing the narratives embedded in these archives, it is music, performance, improvisation and collaboration that can become vital tools for re-reading images in a contemporary way. The Brown Collaborative Residency includes The Centre’s presentation of the acclaimed Houseboy in The Lindemann. Developed at The Centre for the Less Good Idea in Johannesburg, South Africa, and directed by William Kentridge, Houseboy is based on the 1956 novel by Cameroonian diplomat Ferdinand Oyono.

Tanya Tagaq (Spring 2023-Spring 2024)
Artist and activist Tanya Tagaq engages with Brown communities through a number of ongoing projects that express her deep engagement with the Land and advocacy for indigenous peoples. Tanya’s Collaborative Residency includes an extension of her filmmaking collaboration with director Chelsea McMullan (filming in Nunavut and a screening of Ever Deadly, 2022); a reading of her best-selling novel Split Tooth (2018); performances of collaborative music-making and new commissions with Kronos Quartet and Inuit throat singers; and the sharing of an immersive animation of the Land in different seasons, co-created with digital artist Driftnote.

Chachi Carvalho: LOCAL TRAFFIC (Summer 2023-Summer 2024)
Local Traffic, a partnership between Pawtucket artist Chachi Carvalho, local artists and curators, and BAI, aims to durationally enrich the Lindemann Performing Arts Center with activations by a diverse talent of artists working to establish long-term connections between students, faculty, a global network of artists and producers, and surrounding communities. Programming includes informal Cypher Formations to shape future programming, Pro”fresh”ional Development conversations and workshops, and Community Pop-Up events on campus and in surrounding communities. Public sharings include Sound Check (a Lindemann sound-testing project), Labor of Love (a celebratory event for building laborers and their families), and Global Cafe (an International Hip-Hop and Art Mini-Conference).

Kym Moore: Do Eye Know You? (Spring 2024-Fall 2024)
Kym Moore, Professor of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown, embarks on a Collaborative Residency with her renowned Antigravity Performance Project, inviting students and Brown communities into the iterative processes of genre-pushing project creation, from concept to production. Do Eye Know You? takes the viewer/audience into a multi-dimensional world that imagines a shared past between two archetypal figures: Sienna (an African-American woman) and Jason (a white man) living in present day Harlem. While their initial encounter begins with a conflict regarding gentrification, it also becomes the catalyst for a journey that takes them into past lives spanning 13th century France, Civil Rights Era in Selma, Alabama and realms of existence beyond third dimensional reality.

Caridad “La Bruja” De La Luz (Fall 2024)
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the famed Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City, BAI is collaborating with Caridad De La Luz, a world-renowned spoken word artist known as La Bruja and executive director of the Nuyorican, to curate a Spoken Word Festival during the opening year of the new Lindemann Performing Arts Center. The festival will feature students, local poets, and notable spoken word artists from around the country and beyond.

To learn more about Brown Arts Institute, IGNITE, and The Lindemann Performing Arts Center, please visit


About Brown Arts Institute (BAI)
Brown Arts Institute is a university-wide research enterprise and catalyst for the arts at Brown that creates new work and supports, amplifies, and adds new dimensions to the creative practices of Brown’s arts departments, faculty, students, and community. Through year-round programming, research-focused courses, initiatives, collaborations, and partnerships, along with rigorous artistic and academic programs, BAI commissions and presents new work on campus, across Providence, Rhode Island, and beyond, from students, faculty, and on-campus arts groups, as well as in collaboration with forward-focused visiting artists and other performing arts organizations.

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