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Art of Diversity Showcase highlights the role of creativity in building just communities

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Art of Diversity Showcase 2021 celebrated the power of creativity in helping to create more just and equitable communities and was held in conjunction with the Diversity Forum 2021 from July 26-29, 2021. Nearly 70 entries were submitted from students, alumni, faculty, staff and the public for awards in writing, visual art, performance, interdisciplinary art and people’s choice award categories.

The winners include:


Paula Davis, associate vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion for the health sciences, won for her short poem, “Untitled.”

What calls me to the ocean?
Is it the peace borne of rhythmic waves,
Or the gems that appear as the sun meets the water?
Perhaps it's the way I am made buoyant,
able to feel my body held by the surface of greatness.
For under the ocean lie two million ancestors
Who never completed the passage.
They call to me.
They hold me

“I'm left feeling a mix of joy and sorrow that sticks with me long after reading it," wrote Jasmine Green, a poet and Center for Creativity assistant who served on the evaluations panel.

Pitt undergraduate writing student M. Kerlan received an honorable mention for their work of fiction, “On Being Full of Spiders.”

Read excerpts of entries in the writing category.

Visual art

Indian Vikrant Bhise won the visual category for a work on Babasaheb Ambedkar, who enacted a critical workers’ rights law known as the Mumbai Workers Welfare Art in 1953. “Workers are the behind-the-scenes performers of all big works. Babasaheb gives them their repressed identity with the help of the Indian constitution,” said Bhise of his winning entry “Babasaheb and Labour.”

California artist Theresa Polley-Shellcroft received an honorable mention for the work “Sold.”

View a gallery of the visual works.


Alex Tha Great, a performance/spoken word artist and playwright in Dallas, Texas, won for “The Struggle.”

“With fire and grace and anger, she names the horrors, breaks down a world of pain and violence, and rebuilds something beautiful with profound love, all in two and half minutes,” said Erik Schuckers, the Center for Creativity’s communications and programming manager, also served on the evaluations panel.

Pitt senior Dejene Haileselassie won an honorable mention in the performance category for “Seeking Liberation.”


Ying-Tung (Ivy) Chou, a graduate student in the School of Education who served on the evaluations panels, described Brianna Amoscato’s (EDUC ’14, ’15G) “One Day” (large PDF) as “a picture book, a poem, a visual story.”

“Not only is the visual eye catching, the narratives and words catch your attention as well, and you just can’t stop reading,” she wrote.

People’s Choice Award

Pitt MBA/master of social work student Abby R. Bonilla, who is a fluid/flow artist, won for “We’re Still Here.”

Bonilla said of her work: “The coqui is a small frog and Taino symbol of Boriken. Throughout the island, they make their presence known and in the mountains at night, you hear their song and are lulled to sleep to the soothing music. The Taino symbol has been found in the lands of my ancestors, high in the mountains where our roots run deep, we’re still here.”

— Elizabeth Raffaele