Hopkins helped plan an event in downtown Los Angeles highlighting the work and service of several local veterans and artists.

Detail of Portrait of U.S. Navy hero Doris Miller by Michael Massenberg (’91 BFA Graphic Design)

Detail of Portrait of U.S. Navy hero Doris Miller by Michael Massenberg (’91 BFA Graphic Design)

Marsha Hopkins, ’97 BFA Fine Arts, ’02 MFA Writing

In 2022, six Otis College alums came together to brainstorm ways to highlight Black alumni. We agreed that Black history could be celebrated throughout the year because it’s American history. Through our discussions we learned that some Black artists we greatly admire were Otis graduates—some even studied with the illustrious Charles White. Everyone should know this, especially the students. How could we bring awareness to these artists? Our ideas included a virtual exhibition, which is in progress; pop-up exhibitions planned for this summer; and painting images on utility boxes around town to highlight Black notables and alumni. For the latter, we have funding, and the work has begun. 

Recently we had a successful event with the Department of Veterans Affairs to honor Black veterans, which ABC7 covered. JeNai Davis and Stephanie Stone, Chief Deputy Director of Veteran Affairs and a Navy veteran, planned the program. The BHM Collective—composed of Otis College alumni Dakota Higgins (’17 BFA Fine Arts), Michael Massenburg (’91 BFA Graphic Design), Patsy Pitts (’18 BFA Fine Arts), David Roy (’13 BFA Fine Arts), and I—organized and curated the work of Otis alums. The artwork was on exhibit at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall from February 3 to March 8 and will be an annual event. The idea for the collaboration was Patsy’s, an Army veteran. 

Special thanks to Trey Harper (’20 BFA Communication Arts, Graphic Design), also a veteran, and Hazel Mandujano (’03 BFA Fine Arts, ’10 MFA Graphic Design), the Director of Alumni Relations at the time. We enjoy our work and will continue to grow our projects and membership and, hopefully, make a change.

Hopkins is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Liberal Arts and Sciences department at Otis. She and the BHM Collective are still looking for collaborators; interested parties can email bhmcollective@gmail.com for more information.