Before she even owned a microphone or had the slightest idea how to podcast, Dr. Pia Deas founded Contemporary Black Canvas with the goal of highlighting the leading emerging and established contemporary Black artistic voices. She wanted to show that we—in communities across the United States—and across the world–are finding bold and dynamic ways to speak to our experiences and change conditions in our own communities. Dr. Deas’ idea is an old idea that is rooted in a new medium—she took her inspiration for Contemporary Black Canvas from the history of the Black radical publishing tradition.
Since its initial inception in the spring of 2016, CBC has grown rapidly and now houses five inter-related projects: the CBC Podcast Main Series, The Black Arts Movement Audio Archive, the CBC LIVE! event series, a workshop series, and a research assistant and apprenticeship program for undergraduate and post-graduate students. Together, these five projects raise the visibility of Black artists, situate Black artists within a Black intellectual framework, promote the exchange of ideas across communities, and empower Black artists and their communities.