Learn more about Arts of Respect
AOR, established in 2009, is sponsored by Drew CRCC, which endeavors to end hatred and mere tolerance, and promote mutual respect. In 2012, 105 students from Drew’s three schools, the Newark Public Schools’ Marion A. Bolden Center, and Madison and Millburn High Schools created artwork illustrating what respect means to them, and participated in professional performances and artistic workshops. The program culminates with a celebratory event during which the finalists’ interpretations of respect are displayed, read, heard, and acted out. Monetary prizes are awarded, and each student receives a certificate of participation.
Arts of Respect (AOR) originated at Drew as the brainchild of Dr. Paul Drucker, a member of Drew’s College of Liberal Arts class of 1951 and a retired physician who has a passion for advancing respect among all people. Dr. Drucker and Drew collaborated on developing the concept for AOR to encourage students and the community at large to explore conflict through the lens of art.
The Mission of Arts of Respect
Arts of Respect (AOR) is an annual 2-week arts festival and competition in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Its focus is respect for humankind and to promote greater understanding of how the arts can help build more cohesive community at Drew University and beyond. AOR, established in 2009, is sponsored by Drew’s Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, which endeavors to end hatred and mere tolerance, and promote mutual respect. In 2012, 105 students from Drew’s three schools, the Newark Public Schools’ Marion A. Bolden Center, and Madison and Millburn High Schools created artwork illustrating what respect means to them, and participated in professional performances and artistic workshops. The program culminates with a celebratory event during which the finalists’ interpretations of respect are displayed, read, heard, and acted out. Monetary prizes are awarded, and each student receives a certificate of participation.
In a world plagued by prejudice, hatred, and conflict, the arts offer a means of building bridges between and among people, of calling us out of ourselves into the imagination of others. The arts invite us to look at the world through different media, and to experience truths we might not otherwise contemplate, motivating us to constructive engagement with others. Arts of Respect (AOR) originated at Drew as the brainchild of Dr. Paul Drucker, a member of Drew’s College of Liberal Arts class of 1951 and a retired physician who has a passion for advancing respect among all people. Dr. Drucker and Drew collaborated on developing the concept for AOR to encourage students and the community at large to explore conflict through the lens of art. While art is sometimes used as a medium for the expression of hatred, bias, and intolerance, Drew’s Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict seeks through AOR to give students of all ages the opportunity explore their perceptions and feelings about social and cultural problems – of a personal and/or a macro nature – in a creative and positive way. AOR was expanded in 2011 to include high school students from the local Madison area and Newark. With further expansion, ultimately reaching schools and communities across the state of New Jersey, the nation, and beyond, we seek to promote the theme of mutual respect among students from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds, enhancing student well-being and creating healthier learning environments.
Today’s world and its mix of races and ethnicities are closer and more intertwined than ever, and the need for us not only to “get along” but to create synergies is crucial to our living in harmony versus violence and strife, and living to our fullest potential. The objectives of Arts of Respect are to: 1) place the topic of respect “on the table,” and raise awareness of the need to acknowledge, accept, and embrace differences in race, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background, to name a few, which underlie the prejudice and intolerance that result in bullying and discrimination at a vulnerable time in students’ lives; 2) give students a venue in which they can safely “put a face” on prejudice and intolerance among their peers, and be heard, as a way to promote sensitivity and dialogue; 3) help students to gain a greater sense of well-being, and thereby create a healthier learning environment in the schools where they can better concentrate on their school work and participate in the classroom, as well as socially; 4) give students the opportunity to develop leadership skills by coordinating participation in AOR in their schools, and leading a sustainability program to motivate continued dialogue about respect, and perpetuate an improved climate of tolerance and acceptance.
2024 Arts of Respect Drucker Fellows Program
Arts of Respect (AOR) awards projects in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Its focus is to foster greater understanding and respect among people using the arts as a medium of communication expression. AOR, therefore, helps build a more cohesive community at Drew University and beyond.
Established in 2009 and endowed through a generous gift from Dr. Paul Drucker C’51, P’83, AOR is organized by Drew’s Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict (CRCC). AOR Fellows have received funding of up to $1,000 for varying arts-based projects targeted at raising awareness and facilitating tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect within and without the Drew community.
Prospective applicants may refer to the AOR 2024 Call for Applications for eligibility requirements and other application details. To apply, share your application package with the CRCC no later than Friday, December 1 2023.
Meet the 2023-24 Drucker Fellows
“Leaving a Mark,” Eden Linton
Eden Linton is moved to stress the subject of respect to the Drew community: “I love this school [Drew] and I want to use the Drucker fellowship to remind it of the importance of respect,” Eden said. Eden will be organizing an open art exhibition for students featuring photography, poetry, and stories. Eden hopes this exhibition would collapse divides of gender, race, and other identities and promote a sense of community on Drew campus.
Eden Linton, Media & Communications major
Eden’s Drucker Fellowship project was inspired by the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, majorly physical distancing, masking, and lockdown which proved the need for living in community and in love.
Eden will be mentored by Mr. Sean Hewitt, Director of the Center for Civic Engagement. Mr. Hewitt had the following about Eden and his project:
“Eden’s inclusive approach toward mentorship and advocacy within the diverse roles he serves on campus is a clear indication of his commitment to establishing a culture of respect among the Drew Community…His ability to express holistic wellness, unconditional respect for others, and equity through his digital art, photographs, and film will support the Arts of Respect project(s).”
The Leaving a Mark project will be held in fall 2023.
“Kathakali Lecture/Demonstration,” Muthoni Githinji, Julia Caldwell and Vanessa Dresner
Muthoni Githinji, Julia Caldwell, and Vanessa Dressner are coordinating the hosting of the Kathakali Lecture/Demonstration on Drew campus in fall 2023. The lecture/demonstration will be held under the auspices of the Drew Theatre Department and is co-funded by the CRCC under the 2023 AOR Drucker Fellowship. Kathakali, literally story-play, is a highly evolved dance-theater tradition that originated in Kerala, south India, in the 17th century. It is an amazing amalgam of dance, drama, and music; vocal and instrumental.
Julia Caldwell, English major
The Kathakali event will involve three artists from India, where the Kathakali dance-theater tradition originated from. The artists’ visit will involve a lecture/demonstration and a brief recital excerpted from one of the well-known Kathakali plays. Drucker Fellows Muthoni, Julia, and Vanessa will work alongside Professor Lisa Brenner and Professor Snyder, a theater historian in the project’s roll-out.
Vanessa, Psychology major
Professor Brenner shared the following on the Kathakali (Story-Play) Lecture/Demonstration:
“The Kathakali Lecture/Demonstration will be open to the entire Drew community. The Kathakali performance will also admit patrons from across Drew. About 70 audience members are expected to be in attendance.”
“ADVANTAGEARTS,” Christina Rodden
Christina Rodden, in conjunction with Drew faculty, will be working with Newark highschoolers under the ADVANTAGEARTS program in summer 2023. ADVANTAGEARTS is a partnership between Drew University and highschoolers in Newark, NJ, and is intended to facilitate the learning of artistic skills among the participating highschoolers. In summer 2023, 10-12 Newark highschoolers are expected to participate in a play on Drew campus. The play is written by Judy Tate, a Drew Adjunct Professor and a Professional Theater Artist.
Christina Rodden, Media and Communications major
Christina is a documentarian and would be using her competencies to document the play (both production and process). Through Christina’s documentary, the high school students may share their impressions to help measure the impact of ADVANTAGEARTS. Additionally Christina will be mentoring the highschoolers and inspiring them to reach for higher laurels, not least college education.
Professor Lisa Brenner who will be supervising Christina in the ADVANTAGEARTS program shared the following thoughts:
“Drew mentors are critical to this program as they serve as role models for the high school students. In particular, it is critical that the Newark students spend time with college students who are people of color, in part to affirm that a college education is as much their right as anyone else.”
Christina’s Drucker fellowship will enable her to contribute meaningfully to ADVANTAGEARTS, a program of Drew University’s Theater and Dance Department in Newark.
“Arts & Dine Program,” Henry Norkplim Anyomi and Yeongrok Choi
The Arts & Dine Program is the brainchild of the Empowered Youth Peace Network (EYPN), a peacebuilding community established in 2020 by Henry Norkplim Anyomi (T’25; Team Lead of the Arts & Dine Program). The Network emerged from Henry’s leadership training in the Mandela Mile Leadership Programme 2020, a program he completed with over two dozen young leaders from across the globe.
Henry Norkplim Anyomi, Master of Divinity
Partnering with Yeongrok Choi, a student musician at the Drew Theological School, Henry looks forward to exploiting the power of the arts (mainly music, poetry, and storytelling) to foster peace under the Arts & Dine Program. Specifically, Henry, Yeongrok, and the rest of the Arts & Dine Team expect to elicit student voices at Drew University and the University of Ghana, Legon (UG) on matters of mutual respect and understanding as well as good neighborliness. The program, therefore, would serve as a platform for sharing success stories and experiences of student agency in peacebuilding on these school campuses.
Yeongrok Choi, Master of Divinity
Additionally, students from different backgrounds are expected to wine and dine together while engaging one another in meaningful civil dialogue aimed at emphasizing youth agency in peacebuilding and mitigating existing conflicts and divides (such as racial discrimination, religious stereotyping/bias, and toxic inter-hall rivalry).
The program is expected to take off in the fall of 2023, featuring an event on each campus, with a follow up gathering in the spring of 2024. The Arts & Dine Program Team hopes to share interesting stories, poetry, and songs from the program during the AOR Drucker Fellows Showcase, earmarked for spring 2024.
Significance of the Arts and Dine Program to Drew & UG
Both campus communities would benefit from the project in the following ways:
- International stories on respect: The target campus communities may see how the arts are being exploited for respect internationally. Indirect and direct beneficiaries may be inspired to implement similar projects locally – in both Ghana and the US.
- The arts as a leverage point: Participating students from both campuses may appreciate the power of the arts and how they may be exploited for positive change in environments characterized by violent conflict or polarization.
- Community engagement beyond either campus: The Arts & Dine Program is an opportunity for Drew and UG students to engage a community beyond its campus in peacebuilding where youth agency is emphasized. This project would be a perfect opportunity for knowledge sharing between the Drucker Fellows, the project facilitators, its beneficiaries, and the Drew and UG communities.
Henry and Yeongrok will be mentored by Professor Gladson Jathanna, Assistant Professor of History of Christianities as Drucker Fellows.
Arts of Respect 2022
THE RODNEY M. GILBERT SALON
Drew’s Department of Theater and Dance and Dramatic Society held the Rodney M. Gilbert Salon in February 2022, showcasing the performative arts and engaging the campus community, especially Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). Set up years ago in memoriam of Drew’s former faculty member and community organiser, Rodney M. Gilbert, the salon has addressed various social topics in the past including police brutality and racial bias. The 2022 edition featured a reading and conversation themed, “After/Life: Detroit ’67” by Lisa Biggs. The salon is an AOR-sponsored event.
Performers on stage during the “After/Life: Detroit ’67” reading and conversation
It was an afternoon to remember …
Meet the 2020-2021 Drucker Fellows
Over the past year, India, home to over 1 billion people, has suffered two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and a range of ensuing crises. My home city, Mumbai, often referred to as ‘the city of dreams’, has turned into a city of nightmares, setting the highest globally recorded single-day rise in cases just a month ago. With these events still ongoing, I hope to learn more about how this pandemic has fundamentally changed the city, and the ways in which people have had to adapt their daily lives.
Through interviews with citizens from diverse backgrounds, I am putting together a documentary to understand how COVID-19 has challenged the residents of Mumbai in different ways, but also helped us to realize those aspects and people of our city that we may have taken for granted. Through these insights into our distinct but interlaced roles in the city, my goal is to promote greater respect and empathy for one another among our broader community, as well as to reveal existing differences of opinions or struggles which made it difficult for Mumbai to unite in overcoming the COVID pandemic sooner. Above all, I wish to convey a sense of togetherness in having survived what has been an unbearably lonely and painful year for so many.
I was extremely fortunate, this past semester, to have participated in the project: “The Way Forward: Drew/San Diego/Capetown” (a national initiative sponsored by Bringing Theory to Practice (Bt2P) and the Luce Foundation) as a part of my classwork in Theatre in the Community: The Newark Collaboration with Professors Chris Ceraso and Judy Tate. This project was created in lieu of working directly with the High School students from Newark, due to the Pandemic.
The work of this new Community can be viewed by searching on Youtube for “The Way Forward Project Drew University,” which I was a part of creating, along with K.J. Herwig, Marley Matthias, Skylar Patricia, Kris Perez, Mikaylah Mitchell, Diamani Reed, and Tydai Singleton. I edited the collaborative videos that will remain a part of this project.
I am looking forward to a continuing collaboration by editing the videos for the Newark students who will be on the Drew Campus this summer.
Theatre 386: Theatre in the Community
The Theatre 386 class at Drew is an exploration of the field of Community-Based Theatre, and at its core is experiential learning where students serve as both theatrical mentors and fellow creators with our community partners.
Our Project was called: The Way Forward, and was a cross-country and international theatre arts project. We worked in conjunction with Bringing Theory to Practice, a national consortium of university educators who wish to develop innovative and collaborative responses to the multiple challenges facing our nation of the COVID 19 pandemic, institutional racism, economic inequality, and the changing environment.
About The Way Forward
Drew University’s Theatre 386
“THE WAY FORWARD: DREW/SAN DIEGO/CAPETOWN”
Featured at the Arts of Respect Showcase 2019
Drew University Ehinger Center
A documentary discussing Hollywood’s history of misrepresentation and lack of minority representation (specifically Asian Americans.) Through interviewing individuals such as the president of the Asian American Film Lab, Lyla Evans and I hope to understand how Asian Americans are currently redressing racist representations.
Pearl Lee (’18) recommended that I apply for the grant after finishing a documentary about Asian American identity in the United States. She felt that the Art of Respect grant would highlight my passion for understanding and filmmaking. Lyla Evans and I, being Asian American individuals from radically different backgrounds, want to create something that represents the Asian American movement for minority representation.
“The importance of story-telling establishes, fosters and creates community. For first generation college students (FGCS), sharing stories is necessary for support. For this year’s Spring Gala, a different method of story-telling will show the audience a story, rather than tell it. The purpose of the “I am…” to display the pride and strength of being a FGCS.
This video addresses the challenges and the strength that students have to overcome various barriers in the educational system. By relaying this message, this gives an emphasis on the pride that first generation college student and helps breaks down negative stereotypes that members inside and outside of the community might perceive FGCS face. A 5-7 minute docu-video (documentary styled-video) that interviews, and follows the day in the life of FGCS at Drew University.
The premier of this video will be at the DrewFIRST Gala, on April 25th — a celebratory event that congratulates FGCS who will receive a degree 2018-2019. Additionally, the video will be posted to DrewFIRST’s social media and shared on its Drew Webpage. “
What motivated you to want to organize your project? Multiple things, mainly that I wanted to share the story of first generation college students in an accessible way. I hope this will help break down stereotypes about first generation college students and empower others to claim this status!