Current VPA News

Shannon Andre

David MacDonald

On Saturday, Feb. 11, during the Black Lounge celebration and dinner, Syracuse University's Office of Program Development and Office of Multicultural Affairs will present the annual Trailblazer Award. This year’s Trailblazer Awardees are David MacDonald, internationally renowned artist and professor emeritus of ceramics in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and Janis A. Mayes, associate professor in the Department of African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

MacDonald’s artistic works are heavily inspired by his investigation of his African heritage and the surface decoration seen in the many ethnic groups of sub-Saharan Africa. His work is in the permanent collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Montclair Art Museum in New Jersey and Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse. He is also co-founder of the Community Folk Art Center.

Mayes’ research and teaching interests focus on African and diaspora literatures in French and English languages, international Black women’s writing and literary translation practice and studies. She is also the director and creator of Paris Noir, a joint program of the College of Arts and Sciences and SU Abroad, which takes students to Paris to explore the influence of Black culture and literature.

“We are pleased to recognize and celebrate the many contributions Janis and David have made to the Syracuse University community, especially their contributions to the arts and to the many students who have been influenced and impacted by their teaching,” says Angela Morales-Patterson, assistant director of alumni and donor engagement in the Office of Program Development.

The Black Lounge begins at 7 p.m. in the Goldstein Auditorium in Schine Student Center. The event is co-sponsored by the Black Artist League, Black Graduate Student Association, Office of Program Development, Office of Multicultural Affairs and Student African American Society.  The music headliner is Riff, an R&B vocal group from Paterson, New Jersey, which sang in “Lean on Me,” a movie based on events in their high school, Eastside High. The event will also feature ASV “On Fire for God,” Charity Luster, TANKSLEY and DJ Maestro. Tickets are available for $3 at the Schine Box Office.

“The Black Lounge is a signature event of our Black History Month celebration where we celebrate aspects of Black music, art and culture,” says Cedric T. Bolton, coordinator of student engagement in the Office of Multicultural Affairs.  “Each year we are pleased to partner with many great organizations to honor members of our community, enjoy music and support independent and emerging Black artists.”

For more information about the Black Lounge or Black History Month, visit the Office of Multicultural Affairs website.  Questions can be directed to Bolton at or 315.443.9676.