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Black Creatives Institute

Noah Humes, Comm Arts ‘17
Noah Humes, ’17 BFA Communication Arts

Mission Statement:

Otis College’s Black Creatives Institute is focused on developing an inclusive and affirming campus climate for incoming Black-identified students in an effort to increase: student engagement, first- to second-year retention, and degree completion.

Program Goal:
Fostering community among Black-identified creatives by providing holistic support of their personal growth, identity formation, cultural development, and career development to create a stronger sense of belonging within the Otis College community.

Student Learning Outcomes:
As a result of participating in the summer bridge program, students will:

  1. Gain a strong network of creative colleagues through peer engagement and support.
  2. Explore and expand upon their identity as a Black creative.
  3. Develop tools around self-efficacy in order to foster self-confidence and personal empowerment as a Black creative.
  4. Gain an in-depth understanding about campus resources that will assist students in being successful personally, academically, and socially.
  5. Develop strategies and skillsets to actively engage in their academic experience, including studio preparation.

How to Register:
If you self-identify as a Black creative and are an incoming new student who would like to participate in this free program, you can click this link to register now.


Who is Eligible?:
All incoming new students are eligible for this program. This program is focused on Black-identity development and being a Black creative and will offer opportunities for students to self-explore and build connections around this focus.

Lanise Howard, Fine Arts ’20 with Kara Walker

Lanise Howard (’20 BFA Fine Arts), left, with artist Kara Walker

Program Will Take Place:
This year, the Black Creatives Institute will take place virtually over the course of one week as an immersive experience prior to Orientation Week. Monthly meet-ups and programming throughout the academic year will take place as well. The program dates are as follows:

  • Monday, August 10–Friday, August 14, 2020
  • Monthly Cultural Wealth Sessions, occuring September through April covering the following topics:
    • Academic Success and Resources
    • Career Development
    • Financial Literacy
    • Identity Development


Program Design At-A-Glance (all times are PDT):

  • August 10th
    Time Program/Activity Description
    5:00pm-6:00pm PDT Black Student and Family Welcome Welcome event for all attendees including their families. We will provide an overview of the Institute as well as introduce students to key staff and faculty leading the program.
  • August 11th
    Time Program/Activity Description
    10:00am-10:45am PDT Hopes and Expectations—Making the Most of the Black Creatives Institute  
    11:00am-12:30pm PDT Black Staff and Faculty Panel Black staff and faculty at Otis College will provide insight into their background and experience to help students connect, and offer a space for students to ask questions and engage in meaningful conversation with these systems of support. 
  • August 12th
    Time Program/Activity Description
    10:00am-11:30am PDT Who am I? An Exploratory Identity Workshop Begin an exploratory excercise with students around identity formation and development as a Black student.
    1:00pm-2:00pm PDT Student Panel and Discussion Continuing students who identify as Black creatives share their Otis College experience, what it means to be a Black creative, and how they navigate systems that have sometimes been challenging based on their identity as a Black person, as a creative, or both.
    5:00pm-6:00pm PDT Virtual Social Event Social engagement opportunity for current students and Black Creatives Institute participants to come together, connect, and build community. 
  • August 13th
    Time Program/Activity Description
    2:00pm-3:00pm PDT Burnout as a Black Creative Recognize signs of burnout and develop coping mechanisms to assist in building resilience and self-love/self-healing.
    5:00pm-6:00pm PDT Virtual Event Social engagement opportunity for current students and Black Creatives Institute participants to come together, connect, and build community. 
  • August 14th
    Time Program/Activity Description
    11:30am-12:30pm PDT Reflection and Exploration—Closing Students will reflect on their identities as a Black creative, and consider all that they have learned through the workshops/experiences this week. Students will showcase a digital reflection, virtually, and engage staff and faculty in their own learning.
Zoe Whitley and Students

Gena Smith (’21 BFA Fine Arts), right, with curator Zoe Whitley

Program Fee:
This program is completely FREE! All interested students must register for the program and will receive more information on the program schedule. 

More about the Virtual Experience: 
All students participating in this program will be invited to attend anywhere between one and three virtual sessions each day of the program. Each program session will build upon each other and provide a comprehensive experience that will allow students to build community among each other while networking with creative mentors such as faculty, staff, and continuing students. The Black Creatives Institute will also offer social programming in the evenings for incoming new students to get to know each other in a more casual way, allowing them to develop a sense of belonging with our Otis community.