R.A.P. Lessons: Bridging Race, Arts, and Placemaking

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 at 6:00pm to 9:00pm

This is a past event.

Wallis Annenberg Hall (ANN), Forum
3630 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089

Monday, January 14 through Thursday, February 28, 2019

Opening Reception and Discussion
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
6 to 7 p.m: Reception
7 to 9 p.m.: Panel Discussion

Admission is free. Reservations required.

USC Students, Staff, and Faculty: RSVP
USC Alumni: RSVP
General Public: RSVP

“One guiding principle [of Question Bridge] is that quite a lot is revealed when you are asked to pose what, for you, is a meaningful question….a question reveals what you don't know, what you are willing to discover and also assumptions that may or may not be self-evident.” - Chris Johnson

Join us for the opening night of R.A.P. Lessons: Bridging Race, Arts, and Placemaking, a six-week video exhibition throughout the Wallis Annenberg Building at USC, with performative and curricular interventions between schools and with community partners. Artists Chris Johnson and Hank Willis Thomas will explore the links between art, pedagogy, and social change with Annenberg Associate Professor Taj Frazier

The exhibition is inspired by Question Bridge: Black Males, an innovative transmedia project that uses video to facilitate a conversation among Black men from diverse backgrounds. Question Bridge started in 1996 when artist Chris Johnson facilitated questions from one segment of the Black community, those who lived in the “hood,” to another segment, “well-off” Black people living outside of the “hood” through videotaped interviews. The project evolved in 2007 with the involvement of artists Hank Willis Thomas, Bayeté Ross Smith, and Kamal Sinclair to focus on Black males specifically. Question Bridge: Black Males has been internationally exhibited and a high school curriculum is being piloted in multiple school districts across the country.

Question Bridge will be reinvented for the USC community through R.A.P. Lessons: Bridging Race, Arts, and Placemaking—a multi-site exhibition, conversation, and curriculum that creates a platform for community partners and faculty/students to create their own “Question Bridge” as live or social media engagements, exploring issues of race and identity. For instance, students in classes in Roski and Annenberg Schools will produce their own Question Bridges, under the direction of Johnson, and present these in an exhibition during USC’s Diversity Week, January 14-18. Satellite partnerships will be invited through the on-going community work of RAP (Race, Art, and Placemaking) faculty. As one satellite partnership, youth from nearby Green Dot Schools will create their own responses to Question Bridge

Taj Frazier is associate professor at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and director of the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA). His research examines histories and current-day dynamics of race and gender, cultural traffic and contact, urban culture and life, and popular culture. He is the author of The East Is Black: Cold War China in the Black Radical Imagination. (Twitter)

Chris Johnson is a photographic and video artist, curator, and writer. He is a professor of photography at the California College of the Arts, and his artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums including the Smithsonian Museum and the Oakland Museum of California. Johnson authored The Practical Zone System for Film and Digital Photography and has served as president of San Francisco Camerawork Gallery, chair of the City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Commission, and director of the Mother Jones International Fund for Documentary Photography. (California College for the Arts faculty profile)

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. His work is included in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the High Museum of Art, and the National Gallery of Art. His collaborative project For Freedoms, the first artist-run initiative for art and civic engagement, was awarded an ICP Infinity Award. (Twitter, Wikipedia)

Presented by USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. Organized by Suzanne Lacy (Art and Design) and Robeson Taj Frazier (Communication and Journalism), the USC Roski School of Art and Design, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Co-sponsored by RAP (Race, Arts, and Placemaking), the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA), SLAB (Spatial Analysis Lab) at USC Price, the Faculty Arts Mentoring Alliance (FAMA), the Institute for Theater and Social Change, the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs, and For Freedoms.

Event Type

Arts, Lecture / Talk / Workshop, Conference/Symposia, Student Life


Students, Alumni, Faculty/Staff


University Park Campus


employees, students, Visions and Voices, visionsandvoices





Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative


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