From the iconic peace sign to singer/songwriter John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" to AfroSolo Artistic Director Thomas Robert Simpson's solo performance piece There Is No Hatred Here, artists throughout the years have used art as a medium to promote peace. The Commonwealth Club joins AfroSolo Arts Festival 18 in hosting a lively panel discussion about using art to envision, promote, and celebrate peace, examining the role the arts have played in peacemaking movements of the past and present. Award-winning ASCAP composer-arranger, pianist, and music educator Jacqueline Hairston moderates this panel, featuring Brenda Wong Aoki, acclaimed storyteller, performance artist, writer, and founder of First Voice, Robert Moses, choreographer and founding Artistic Director of Robert Moses' Kin, and Wesley J. Watkins, IV, Ph.D., Founder, The Jazz & Democracy Project.
Aoki creates monodramas, synthesizing Japanese Noh and Kyogen Theater, Commedia Dell'arte, modern dance and everyday experiences. Of Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and Scottish descent, her work is a synthesis of Japanese Noh and Kyogen Theater, Commedia dell'arte. She is the co-founder of First Voice.
Moses is also the Artistic Director of the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University since 2005, and teaches on campuses and at festivals around the globe, most recently in the United Kingdom.
Dr. Watkins first developed his curriculum at Stanford University. His continued research at Oxford University and beyond, working with music educators at both elementary schools and institutions like Eaton College, eventually earned Watkins a Ph.D. He then brought this program home, working at the district, school, and classroom levels in the East Bay.