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University News

Performance Artist Kata Mejia Explores Social Issues with Installation at Georgian Court University

White picture of a woman wearing white dress looking to the floor

The Georgian Court University Department of Dance will host performance artist Kata Mejia and Time Compass, a collaborative art installation that poses questions about gun violence. The performance is Friday, October 28, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on the Wellness Center dance studio patio (outside Dance Studio 2). No reservations are required for this standing-room-only event.

The joint effort draws on the talent of Ms. Mejia and Silvana Cardell, an award-winning choreographer and chair of the GCU Department of Dance.

“By presenting Kata Mejia’s work, we hope to connect with students of different academic programs, including dance, art, social work, criminal justice, and sociology,” said Ms. Cardell. “Time Compass gives us an opportunity to develop strong relationships with the community and start an important dialogue, especially considering community engagement is an inspirational component of this work.”

Ms. Cardell, whose immigration and identity-themed Supper, People on the Move won a 2015 grant from the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, thinks Time Compass offers something for everyone.

“It will be accessible to many constituents, not only because Kata’s art is visually and kinetically appealing, but also because her methodology, conceptualization of movement, and creativity offer countless possibilities to engage audiences,” said Ms. Cardell, who notes that GCU dance students will participate in the performance.

Ms. Mejia, a performance artist and painter whose work has been shown nationwide and in her native Colombia, as well as Chile and Japan, graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) with a master’s degree in performance. She received her B.F.A. from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Medellin.

Ms. Mejia has been awarded several grants and scholarships, including the James Nelson Raymond Fellowship in 2004, the Trustee Scholarship from SAIC, a Colombian government scholarship for graduate studies abroad, and a 2002 graduate studies scholarship from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She also received a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in 2009.

Her latest art installation will be part of the Philadelphia-based Cardell Dance Theater’s next full-evening large performance, Disposable Bodies, which will be presented at FringeArts in 2018.

“My goal is to teach and to present dance aligning my interest of performance and social change with GCU’s mission, which is rooted in social justice, compassion, and service,” said Ms. Cardell. “As a choreographer, my mission is to create dance works that engage the senses. Presenting Kata Mejia’s connects both.”

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,200 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 14 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by Money.com and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at HazletGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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