Inspiring Conversation Invoking Change text on graphic Inspiring Conversation Invoking Change text on graphic
Building Trust Creating Unity text on graphic Building Trust Creating Unity text on graphic

Black Arts Initiative

Hope, Activism, and Reconciliation through Music, Drama, Art, Literature

Accomplished International Artists. Interactive Virtual Programs that Unite.

Goals of the Initiative

Leverage the power of Black Arts and Artists to inspire conversation and invoke change.
Use the exploration and discovery of Black Music and Arts to heal and unite.
Find commonality, build community


Meet the Artists

Michael Mwenso

Michael Mwenso
Music Activist

Shariffa Ali

Shariffa Ali
Director, Creative Innovator


Frank Stewart

Frank Stewart
Black Culture Photographer 

Simeon Marsalis

Simeon Marsalis
Author, Activist, Educator

Let’s Work Together!

Excited by what you see? We are eager to connect and share the wisdom and warmth of everyone involved in the Black Arts Initiative with you.

Let’s get the conversation started!

Gwenmarie Ewing
Performing Arts Series Assistant Director

From the Producers

In response to the ongoing crisis faced by the United States at the hands of racial injustice, it is becoming increasingly more important for organizations and individuals alike to not simply be “not racist” but to actively work to become ANTI-Racist.

By providing a series of Artist-led educational tools and strategies to harness principles of equity, inclusivity and diversity, our team seeks to encourage and empower participants to play a more active and pivotal role in dismantling racism in their workplace and everyday lives.

Musical Snack #37: Sonata in C, Op. 17. No. 1 (second movement) by E. A. Förster

Bruce Murray's Notes

E. A. Förster (1748-1823) was a Prussian composer and teacher who spent his professional life in Vienna. He was friendly with Mozart and later with Beethoven, to whom he sent students. Likely he is the most obscure figure featured to date in Musical Snacks. If you search very hard you may find a recording of a string piece, but his many keyboard works are unknown and unheard. His Op. 17 is three piano sonatas. published in Vienna either at the end of the eighteenth century or the beginning of the nineteenth. I can find no evidence that the pieces were ever reprinted, but perhaps I've reached the limit of my Wikipedia skills. Ergo, I have been making a modern edition of Op. 17 and present here the slow movement of the first sonata. The recording is likely a world premiere and possibly the first time the music has been aired publicly in two hundred years. So how is it? It's okay. In the eighteenth century piano sonatas were not for concerts but for domestic use. They were entertainments, not artistic statements, although when Mozart took a turn he couldn't help himself (imagine if Matisse made refrigerator magnets). Förster was neither Matisse nor Mozart, but he was a successful, professional composer, and his sonata is worth hearing, at least once, precisely because it is not Mozart and not Beethoven.

YouTube series in collaboration with the Oxford Community Arts Center

Musical Snacks: Mozart to Joplin with Bruce Murray

Wednesdays at noon wherever you are, take a break, a deep breath and enjoy a few minutes of exquisite piano music selected and performed by Oxford's own Bruce Murray and recorded in the beautiful ballroom of Oxford Community Arts Center.

New Episodes each Wednesday!

If you miss a week or want to re-watch a piece, don't worry, the videos will remain available on YouTube.

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Feel Hope in the Music!

Michael Mwenso's Songs of Black Hope and Resistance

Black Music has always played a role in American protest, hope, and resilience. 

In this FREE multi-media, web series, curator and host Michael Mwenso investigates meaningful songs from the Black roots expression that speak to the ultimate human expression.

Explore the Songs of Black Hope and Resistance

Michael Mwenso's Songs of Black Hope and Resistance additional information


Get in Touch

Even though our office in Hall Auditorium remains closed due to Covid 19, we want to see you!  Please give us a call or drop us an email and we would be happy to meet via Zoom or schedule a physically distanced in-person meeting.


Contact Us 

We Salute Our Sponsors

Presidential Series on Inclusivity - sponsored by the Office of the President

Chris Adryan, Realtor, Special Agent @Re-Max Alpha Real Estate
The Bothast-Revalee Family of Oxford, OH
Jerome Conley
The Humanities Center
Jack Keegan
The Knolls of Oxford
The Lutz Family Foundation
I Am Miami
MIA Restaurant + Studio
Talawanda-Miami Partnership
Scott and Jennifer Walter
Western College Alumnae Association

Our Partners Amplify Our Impact

Center for American and World Cultures
Enjoy Oxford
Miami Activities + Programming (MAP)
Miami University Office of Diversity Affairs
Oxford Community Arts Center
Oxford Seniors
Talawanda Public Schools
Welcome Week, Division of Student Life