May LAS Newsletter

Congratulations to the Otis graduating class of 2017!   Soon they will sit in their commencement robes, half listen to words of wisdom by celebrated speakers and await their walk across a stage to receive their degrees, to be followed by cheers and well-deserved hugs from friends, faculty and proud family.

As we applaud our successful graduates, we want to take a moment to applaud the successes of our distinguished LAS faculty.

Food for the Gods.  Associate Professor Ysamur M. Flores received a grant from the Creative Work Fund for the Colleagues at the Alliance for California Traditional Arts where, as a Master Artist, he is mentoring the preparation of ceremonial meals for Orisha practitioners.    On April 20, 2017, Flores made a presentation entitled Supermarkets of the Divine which was part of the WLAC-UCLA Global Speaker Series on Global Popular Culture.

At Play with Clay.  Professor Joan Takayama-Ogawa, ceramic artist, curated a clay exhibition which explored the theme, “A Sense of Place and Play” for the Scripps 73rd Ceramic Annual, the longest running clay show in America, at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery.  The 9 artists featured in the Annual include Chris Antemann, Jeff Oestreich, Diego Romero, Red Weldon Sandlin, Porntip Sangvanich, Michael Sherrill, Anna Silver, Mara Superior and Ehren Tool.  “I sought ceramic heroes and ‘sheroes’ from across the United States who are masters in their fields,” said Takayama-Ogawa who added, “These artists and educators are making ceramic history.”  The exhibition opened January 21, 2017 and ran through April 9, 2017.

Canary in a Coal Mine.  Joan Takayama-Ogawa’s art was featured in an exhibition called ‘Climate Change’ at the American Museum of Ceramic Art where she presented ‘abstract figurative white coral reef sculptures and white lighting installations calling for the reversal of global warming’.  The Joan Takayama-Ogawa: Climate Change exhibit was on view from January 14 through April 2, 2017. (Images courtesy Joan Takayama-Ogawa)

 Climate and Political Instability. After watching a video of the destruction in Aleppo, Syria, Lecturer Sam Stier penned a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed piece in which he examined the inextricable links between ‘natural systems and human events’ where environment and climate are connected to both the causes and the ruins left by armed struggles.

The Right Stuff. They Promised Her the Moon, a play by Lecturer Laurel Ollstein about ‘astronette’ Jerrie Cobb, one of America’s first 13 female astronauts who prepared for the Mercury 7 1960 launch but who were left behind in favor of male astronauts, opens at the St. Clements Theater in New York on May 12, 2017. (Image courtesy Laurel Ollstein)

Food Politics.  Adjunct Assistant Professor Claudia Hernandez delivered a lecture, Understanding Latina/o  Traditional Medicine & the Role of Botánicas in Immigrant Access to Health to the Psychology Department, UCLA February 1, 2017.  Then on April 1, 2017, she was guest lecturer on Botánicas: History, Health & Community at an Educator’s Workshop, From Botánicas to Obamacare: Health and Healing Traditions of Latin America, at the Latin American Institute, UCLA.   Coming up in June, Hernandez will present Latina/o Produce Trucks: Health, Culture & Community Well‐Being for a conference on Migrating Food Cultures: Engaging Pacific Perspectives on Food & Agriculture hosted by the Agriculture Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society, Occidental College, Los Angeles.

Media that Matters.  The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC sent a crew to videotape Adjunct Assistant Professor Perri Chasin and her Social Change Through Media students for a short film which the USHMM presented at their annual Los Angeles Benefit Dinner held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 2, 2017 where Chasin was recognized as an Inspiring Educator by the Museum for her work addressing media and propaganda. (Image courtesy Perri Chasin)

Hooray for Hollywood.  On February 2, 2017,  Perri Chasin produced a Movies that Matter Special Screening of the film Loving , the story of the real life couple who were the plaintiffs in the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision which invalidated state laws prohibiting interracial marriage with CAIL Mentor Faculty Judy Arthur and which featured the film’s Associate Producer, Oge Egbuonu, as their special guest for the Q & A following the film.   Then, on April 18, 2017, Chasin produced the Movies that Matter Special Screening of the film Hidden Figures, the untold story of three African-American women who rose through the ranks at NASA and were vital to the success of America’s space program in the segregated south of the 1960’s with Arthur which featured Kimberly Quinn, one of the film’s stars who also was a Producer of the film, as the special guest for the Q & A following the screening. (Images courtesy Perri Chasin)

We at LAS wish everyone a wonderful summer! 

See you in the fall!


  1. I love this new format for the LAS newsletter. Congratualtions, Perri.