The CADRE project (Community Arts for Dialogues, Reflection, and Energy) at Hostos Community College (Bronx, New York) uses the arts to build full participation in higher education, to promote dialogue and collective action, and to advance racial and social justice. Many Hostos student do not feel that they belong, not only on campus, but as citizens of the country. CADRE was a response to their sense of anger and frustration. Developed as a partnership of Hostos Community College, Bronx Community College, and Columbia Law School, it treats the arts as a vehicle for understanding, communicating, and promoting a culture of belonging in higher education, using creative activities and public dialogues to explore and model long-term culture change.
With the support of a Bringing Theory to Practice Campus Dialogue Grant, CADRE’s principal investigators enlisted a trio of Broadway performing artists who were similarly dedicated to using the arts as a vehicle to promote a culture of belonging. Groups of students from both community colleges worked with the artists to workshop their own stories into a script based on the overarching question, “Who am I?” Mixing dance, rap, spoken word, and song, the student performers shared their stories on campus, at a national conference on sanctuary cities, and with other audiences.
After the damage wrought by Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Puerto Rico, CADRE expanded further. The Bronx and Hostos Community College are home to a large Puerto Rican community. With support from an “AMP grant” from BT2P—given to amplify previous grant projects—CADRE worked with students in both New York City and Puerto Rico to gather stories and create a performance piece about life in the wake of the storms’ devastation.
- Campus Highlight: Community Arts for Dialogue, Reflection, and Energy (CADRE): The Evolution of a Drama in Education Program in the Bronx
- With Grant from Bringing Theory to Practice, The Eugenio María de Hostos Drama in Education Institute: Using Theater to Enhance Teaching Advances in Puerto Rico and New York