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Smithsonian Institution’s Dwandalyn Reece visits ASU School of Music for weeklong residency

Arizona State University's School of Music welcomes Dwandalyn Reece, curator of music and performing arts at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, for a weeklong residency April 10–14.

During her time on campus, Reece will present public lectures on her research and curatorial work, offer career development workshops in the public arts and humanities and work with students in ASU courses. She will present a talk titled “Musical Crossroads: American Music through an African American Lens” from noon to 1:30 p.m.April 13, in Katzin Concert Hall and will engage in a more informal community dialogue on the topic of “Curating Black Music History” at the Phoenix Center for the Arts (PCA) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. April 14, as part of the ASU School of Music and PCA’s “Community Music at the Center” partnership.

“We are delighted to welcome a scholar of Dr. Reece’s caliber for a residency in the ASU School of Music, as we seek ways for our students to learn about the multiple ways in which their work can impact society,” said Heather Landes, director of the ASU School of Music. “Dr. Reece’s visit highlights to our students the importance of the arts in our world and provides them with an understanding of the ways in which they can utilize their own creative capacities to advance culture and build community.”

Throughout her career, Reece has worked in the public sector conducting community-based research projects, curating exhibitions, writing articles and developing public programs for general audiences. Along with building the new museum’s collections, Reece curated the music exhibition “Musical Crossroads” and co-curated the music festival Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration for the Museum of African American History and Culture’s grand opening in September 2016.

Before joining the Smithsonian, Reece was a senior program officer at the National Endowment for the Humanities and worked in several museums, including the Louis Armstrong House and Archives, the Brooklyn Historical Society, the New Jersey State Museum and the Motown Historical Museum. Reece holds a doctorate in performance studies from New York University, an master's in American culture and a certificate in museum practice from the University of Michigan, and a bachelor's in American studies and music from Scripps College.

Her visit was organized by Christopher Wells, assistant professor of musicology in the School of Music, who saw strong connections between Reece’s work and the school’s current focus on issues of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement as well as an increasing emphasis on preparing students for a broad range of career options.

“In our new PhD program in musicology, we’re asking our students to think creatively about how music scholarship can have a substantial public impact, and we’re also encouraging students to consider a broad range of possible careers in addition to the traditional pathway of a university professorship,” Wells said. “Dr. Reece’s work really speaks to these ideas as well as to the Herberger Institute’s ‘Projecting All Voices’ initiative.”

School and Film, Dance and Theatre, Herberger Institute