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This show is archived

In response to the ongoing social upheaval and protests for racial justice, Olney Theatre Center is hosting a virtual social justice arts festival called Just Arts: A Celebration of Art & Activism, amplifying the voices of BIPOC artists and activists on in October. Each Friday evening starting October 9, we will delve more deeply into a particular pillar of social justice—equity, participation, rights, and access—through performances and conversations with artists and activists. Join us for this 4-week series curated by four DMV-arts leaders Chil Kong (Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre MTC), Kevin McAllister (actor and Artistic Director of ArtsCentric, Inc), Nicole A. Watson (Associate Artistic Director at Round House Theatre), and Elena Velasco (Artistic Director of Convergence Theatre).

You'll be able to watch every episode as it premieres on our YouTube channel and live on our blog.

Co-Curated by

Chil Kong (Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre MTC
Kevin McAllister (actor and Artistic Director of ArtsCentric)
Nicole A. Watson (Associate Artistic Director at Round House Theatre)
Elena Velasco (Artistic Director of Convergence Theatre)


2020-21 Season
Part of the 2020-21 Season



    LIVE at 7:00 pm and streaming after on our blog

  • October 30

    curated by Chil Kong

    On the final Friday of Just Arts and on the verge of Election Day 2020, co-curator Chil Kong asks his artists, "What does the word 'Access' mean to you? And what does it mean in your language, whether that language is Spanish, Russian, Tagalog, music, or movement?" 

    Video profile of Identity, Inc. 

    I Wish I Knew How It Felt To Be Free by Nina Simone
    Performed by Felicia Curry
    Felicia Curry performs a soulful rendition of this Nina Simone song. This performance is dedicated to encourage all to vote.

    Not Your Alien
    Written and performed by Kyosin Kang
    Kyosin Kang shares her personal immigration story, what Kang calls “the bane of my existence," about perseverance, what it means to be All-American or All-Asian, and labeled an “Alien.” 

    created and performed by Ellice Patterson 
    Ellice Patterson is a dancer. She also has a disability. Through her work with Abilities Dance Boston, Ellice disrupts antiquated ablest beliefs and disseminates the value of inclusion through dance. “Bimodal” features Ellice dancing with her walker as well as audio description. 

    The New American, 1961 (From Eight hundred seventy-four)
    Alex Palting performs her original blues song inspired by the 874 letters her grandparents wrote to one another from across the ocean—her grandmother in Manila, and her grandfather in the U.S. The song explores “the fear, courage, loss and wonder I imagine he must have felt as he left the Philippines.”

    The Bill of Rights... in Russian
    performed in Russian by Mikhail Kachman
    Acclaimed DMV director and theatre artist Mikhail Kachman recites the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution in his native language.

    The Newly Naturalized Citizen Earns Her Right to Vote and Walks to the Polling Place
    by Tuyet Thi Pham and Amy Kellett
    Tuyet Thi Pham returns to Just Arts along with Amy Kellet with an original movement piece in English, French, and Vietnamese about voting, defining and redefining access in a new land.

    Voting Rights 
    video by Asian and Pacific Islanders Vote

    Beautiful City written by Stephen Schwartz
    Performed by Nova Y. Payton
    Nova Payton returns for another standing ovation with this performance of “Beautiful City” from Stephen Schwartz’s brilliant Broadway musical Godspell.

    The Free Theater brings together talented local teens to perform Alicia Keys’s latest hit single “Underdog” and share some of their personal stories of how access to the arts, education, proper medical care, and mental health support, have affected their lives.

    Past Episodes

    • Click on an image to view the episode

    • October 9

      LIVE at 7:00 pm and streaming after on our blog

      hosted by Nicole A. Watson
      Musical performance by Kahsayna Johnson and the cast of School Girls, or The African Mean Girls Play
      Spoken word performances by Billie Krishawn, Heather Gibson, Renea Brown and Tyasia Velines
      Video documentary by Maya Jackson with music composed by Yesenia Iglesias
      ASL performances by Tempest Stokes, Teraca Florence, Mervin Primeaux-O'Brien and TeeFlo
      Conversation with Indigenous activist Mary Kathryn Nagle
      Dramatic reading of a Ruth Bader Ginsburg speech by Regina Aquino

    • October 16

      hosted by Kevin McAllister

      An exploration of key U.S. laws such as the Three-Fifths Compromise, the 19th Amendment, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, that have affected how people participate in our democracy. Join us for a conversation with Know Your Rights Camp, founded by Colin Kaepernick, whose mission is to advance the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities. 

      Special appearances by Marty Austin Lamar, Rayanne Gonzales, Chris Mueller, Katie Espinoza, and Martin Beck. 

      • “Oh Glory/How Come Me Here”
        Explicit Dance Works performs to this powerful music sung by Anika Samson Anderson. Featuring: Imani Lee, Amaya Weston, Nakia Abram, Heinz Adjakwah
        Choreography and Editing by Shalyce Hemby
      • “What to the Slave is The Fourth of July?”
        Spoken word performance by Gary Kayi-Fletcher of Frederick Douglass’s speech given in 1852 in Rochester, NY, to the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society. 
      • “What Would You Do?"
        Music by Mark G. Meadows

        A musical response to police violence. Recorded live at The Hamilton. Featuring: Deacon Izzy, Brent Birckhead, CV Dashiell, Eliot Seppa
      • “Hey White Girl”
        Tuyet Pham and Kelly King create an inspiring and original spoken word and movement piece about American Feminism and its lack of intersectionality.  
      • “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls
        Nova Y. Payton performs this power ballad from the award-winning Broadway musical Dreamgirls.
      • “Ipseity,” Dance Performance
        Dancer/choreographer Cristina Camacho returns to Olney Theatre Center to reprise her incredible original piece about identity, belonging, and crossing borders by fusing modern dance with hip-hop. Featuring: Cristina Camacho, Angad Kalsi, Cameron Bennett, Kiara Hill, Oliver Sangster, Vesela Kostadinova
        With Music by Francisco Camacho
      • “This Land Is Your Land”
        This classic American folk song has new meaning when it’s sung by Vishal Vaidya.
      • “Let America Be America Again”
        Spoken word performance of Langston Hughes’s poem featuring students from The Barrie School.  
      • “Lift Every Voice and Sing”
        Howard University’s award-winning Afro Blue presents their arrangement of the black national anthem. 
      • “I’ll Stand By You” Finale
        Special performance of this powerful song by various local DMV artists including: Katie Mariko Murray, Awa Sal Secka, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Melissa Victor, Shayla Lowe, Sarah Corey, Karen Vincent 
        Musical arrangement by Kevin McAllister
    • October 23

      hosted by Elena Velasco

      Africa in Motion
      Traditional West African dance company Coyaba Dance Theater takes us on a cultural journey.

      Convergence Theatre's Boiling Point
      Convergence Theatre returns to their Guerrilla Theatre Works performance art model through an artistic call to action in response to to immigration and race issues, locally and globally.  

      Black Disabled Lives Matter
      Artist/Educator/Activist and parent to a child with autism, Jennifer White-Johnson uses photography, to honor the names of Black disabled lives lost to state violence.

      Just Neighbors
      Join us for a conversation with Erin McKenney, Executive Director of Just Neighbors, a nonprofit dedicated to serving and supporting the immigrants community of Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia.

    Support Just Arts with a Tax-Deductible Gift


    Lead Sponsors

    Craig Packard and Joan Dubinsky 
    Holly Hassett


    Charlene Dorrian
    Lois Taylor and Stephen Simpson

    Artist Sponsors

    Nettie Horne
    Bob Russell
    John R. and Andrea Z. Urciolo

    Olney Theatre Center is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County Government, the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and the Maryland State Arts Council ( 

    Just Arts

    October 9 - October 30 2020

    Box Office: 301.924.3400

    Open Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

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