Toshi Reagon Named Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow


Cover image of Octavia Butler's "Parable of the Sower"

Together with Abigail Killeen, professor of theater, Barry Logan, Bowdoin’s Samuel S. Butcher Professor within the Pure Sciences, and Sarah Seames, director of the McKeen Heart for the Frequent Good, Casselberry is bringing college, workers, and neighborhood activists collectively to coordinate curricular choices and campus-wide actions that contribute to Parable Path Maine.

“Toshi’s concentrate on themes arising in Octavia Butler’s prophetic textual content gives the Bowdoin neighborhood with a profound alternative to handle our personal perception techniques and techniques of interplay,” Casselberry mentioned.

“Our college students transfer by a world of unfettered violence, local weather catastrophe, and assaults on bodily autonomy—all signs of humanity’s incapability to place love, well being, and wholeness above all else. Toshi’s brilliance as a musician and love warrior is the right joyful antidote to disheartening occasions.”

Reagon’s McKeen Visiting Fellowship contains 4 neighborhood convenings. The primary was a working group in June with college, workers, and neighborhood companions. For the next convenings, Reagon will interact neighborhood companions from throughout Maine in conversations based mostly on the themes current in Parable of the Sower.

“We’re past thrilled about this collaboration,” mentioned Samaa Abdurraqib, Maine Humanities Council government director. “Bringing these sorts of generative and dynamic humanities-based conversations to each nook of Maine is a key a part of our mission work, and we have now seen firsthand the lasting impression these conversations have had in Maine communities.”

Sarah Seames, director of the McKeen Heart for the Frequent Good, famous, “The chance for our college students to study from Toshi and the superb neighborhood companions invested in social change in Maine is an unimaginable one. We look ahead to constructing on the impression of Parable Path Maine far past this 12 months.”

The fellowship culminates with a efficiency of Toshi and Bernice Reagon’s congregational opera adaptation of Parable of the Sower. This one-night-only occasion will probably be introduced by Indigo Arts Alliance and Portland Ovations in affiliation with the Faculty, and will probably be carried out at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine, on April 14, 2023. Portland Ovations, a Maine nonprofit has been bringing stay performances to Higher Portland since 1931.

Reagon has been the recipient of a New York Basis for the Arts award for music composition, OutMusic’s Heritage Award, the Black Lily Music and Movie Competition Award for Excellent Efficiency, the Affiliation of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) Award Benefit for Achievement within the Performing Arts, and the 2021 Herb Alpert Award in Music. In 2022, she acquired an honorary doctorate from Emerson Faculty.

The Joseph McKeen Visiting Fellow initiative broadens the exploration of the frequent good by engagement with a distinguished customer outstanding in public discourse. By a sequence of campus visits within the fall and spring semesters, the guy will take part in a proper presentation, scholar and school conferences, class visits, and neighborhood occasions to type networks that join the Faculty and the broader neighborhood.


Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) is a Black-led group devoted to the skilled improvement and amplification of Black and brown inventive imaginative and prescient and apply. Based in 2018 and formally launched in 2019, IAA is an incubator area with a mission to construct international connections by bringing collectively Black and brown artists from numerous backgrounds to have interaction in artistic course of by an Artists in Residency program. Go to to study extra and assist their work.

The Maine Humanities Council (MHC), a statewide nonprofit group, makes use of books, poetry, and large concepts to carry folks collectively to debate problems with significance and create constructive change in Maine communities. Their applications and grants encourage essential considering and conversations throughout social, financial, and cultural boundaries. The MHC is a state affiliate of the Nationwide Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is the house of Maine’s Heart for the Ebook by the Library of Congress. Go to to study extra about MHC’s programming and the way their assist our work.

Portland Ovations, a Maine nonprofit based in 1931, is Portland’s presenter of all efficiency disciplines—Broadway Nationwide Excursions, dance, theater, and a number of music genres. Ovations’ mission is to contribute to the cultural, social, and financial wellbeing of our communities by presenting an array of high-quality performing artists from around the globe and creating numerous academic experiences that carry the enjoyment, vitality, and enrichment of the humanities to all. Ovations connects artists and audiences by the magic of stay efficiency.


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