Studio arts and art history students propose new, BIPOC-inclusive curriculum

Monday, September 7, 2020

via Laband Art Gallery on Instagram

Studio arts and art history students propose new, BIPOC-inclusive curriculum

By Raven Yamamoto

Current and alumni studio art students are calling on the College of Communications and Fine Arts (CFA) to reevaluate its courses, proposing a curriculum that includes more studies of artists of color.

In light of the recent protests against racial injustice, junior Jose Camacho and alumni Simrah Farrukh and Fati Beck (‘20) drafted a letter expressing their dissatisfaction with LMU’s current Studio Arts and Art History curriculum’s lack of meaningful incorporation of Black artists, Indigenous artists, and other artists of color (BIPOC).

Over 30 students, professors and alumni have signed the letter in support of the group’s proposals for how the department can reform its current programs of study.

“With the rise of nationwide rumblings for change and the difficult conversations that have ensued in both small and large circles and spaces, the indisputable concept of ‘white privilege’ has become of increasing concern,” the letter reads. “Specifically, as it relates to the role of the Studio Arts Department today, white privilege has become internalized within its current curriculum.”

The letter was addressed and delivered to various members of CFA leadership, including Dean Dr. Bryant Keith Alexander, Assistant Dean Elaine Walker, Chair of Studio Arts Saeri Dobson and Chair of Art History Damon Willick.

Farrukh, Camacho and Beck’s letter asks that the department actively hire more BIPOC professors and incorporate the work of BIPOC artists into the fine arts curriculum.

“Incorporating a race, equity and inclusion lens in future hiring practices, thereby resulting in more BIPOC professors, would allow for a more dynamic, robust and conducive learning environment for BIPOC students,” the letter reads.

In addition, the group also calls on CFA to create a Black Art History course, claiming that its current ‘Arts of Africa’ course is “not synonymous to Black history.” 

The letter asks that the department also considers diverging from its Western-centered curriculum by properly crediting students for taking a Latinx/Hispanic arts course, expanding Asian art history courses, and reconsidering the Studio Arts major’s Western art course requirements.

“BIPOC students are entitled to learn about art that pertains to their respective culture and gives them a voice at the art podium and prime position at the art gallery,” the group writes. 

Their letter concludes with emphasizing that these proposed reforms are for the benefit of the University’s BIPOC fine arts students.

“It is time for BIPOC students to be given the long-overdue educational environment that makes accessible and stimulates the mission of finding thyself through art, artists, and art history with a familiar face, familiar tone and familiar message.”

Since the letter’s deliverance, Farrukh and Camacho plan to hold an open forum for students and alumni to discuss these demands and their experiences with the program. 

The Art and Art History Departments will also hold a planning meeting this Friday for a student “Town Hall” where faculty will hear students’ concerns.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter can be read in full here.]


  1. Hello, I am prof. Saeri Dobson, the Chair of Studio Arts at the Department of Art and Art History. I have a question about a planning meeting this Friday for a student "Town Hall" I haven't heard about it. Can someone please explain what's going on? Thanks.

  2. Do you have any further information about the town hall? I would love to attend but I can’t find out the date/time. Thank you!!