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This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Hortense Parker Celebration .

Class 1883, Hortense Parker is the first known person of color to graduate from Mount Holyoke College and the first known African-American to attend Mount Holyoke College. An accomplished pianist and music teacher, this year's theme, “Freeing the Collective Soul” features keynote speaker Christa Brown, actress and founder of Free Soil Arts Collective and alumnae speaker, Iyanna James-Stephenson ‘15, known as Iyanna the model. We will also have student performances, including performance by WOFA - Pioneer Valley Performing Arts West African Drum and Dance Company and the announcement of the Freeing the Creative Soul Student Creation Contest. 

A reception will be held following the celebration. 

Hortense Parker’s life centered on the creation and appreciation of music, especially as an accomplished pianist. In honor of her legacy, this year’s events celebrate the accomplishments of BIPOC students, faculty, and staff in the arts. We want to acknowledge the difficulties that BIPOC face in many artistic spaces where there is a eurocentric standard for what is considered “real art” as well as calling-in the cultural appropriation and minimizing of BIPOC art. For years BIPOC artists have been treated with insensitivity, overshadowed, and not given credit for their work. We want to encourage BIPOC artists to take up space in the arts, not just for Hortense Parker week, but for the many years to come. 

This event is Sponsored by the SGA Students of Color Committee in Collaboration with the Office of Community and Belonging and the Weissman Center for Leadership.

The event is free and open to the public.

Food Provided (Reception from 8 pm-9 pm following the event.)

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