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Creative Catalysts

The Curb Center is one of the only entities on Vanderbilt’s campus which supports creative endeavours by students, staff, faculty and community members. While each project is uniquely designed to address a specific need, all awarded projects are centered around creativity.  Learn more about past projects and our Catalyst Alumni (here) and how to apply for a Catalyst award to fund your own creative ideas (here).

We are currently supporting the following projects.

Safety & Well-Being Across Vanderbilt
Madison Brinnon (Graduate Student Catalyst)
Vanderbilt University will launch an inaugural safety & wellbeing campaign this for the Fall 2022 semester. As part of this initiative, The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will partner with Campus Safety and the Office of the Chancellor  to roll out a weeklong program to raise awareness about a new one-stop safety resource to empower the well-being of the campus community and to strengthen the culture and climate around our community values.  As part of this effort, Madison will oversee the creation of a student mural centered around the mission of the campaign. She will hold a university-wide design competition during the Spring semester, with the winning design chosen by a panel of Vanderbilt leaders. Madison is assembling a team of undergraduate student creatives to assist with the murla creation next fall.  As part of the Fall 2022 Safety kick-off events, Madison’s group will invite students to help paint the mural.  The mural will be completed by a local artist and then go on tour across campus for the 2022-2023 academic year to raise awareness.

Telling the Story of Nashville Civil War Fortifications Through Story-maps
Robert Hulette (Faculty Catalyst)
The goal of this project is to create a digital educational resource where various maps of the fortifications around Civil-War era Nashville are combined with drawings, paintings, photographs, and other artistic reflections of those fortifications created in the mid-to-late 19th century to create a digital tool which brings the story of Civil War Nashville to modern audiences.

Hip Hop Public Health Nashville: Music to Save Lives
Rincon Jagarlamudi (Undergraduate Catalyst)
In partnership with Hip Hop Public Health undergraduate student Rincon Jagarlamudi created Hip Hop Nashville. The program is designed for elementary schools audiences attending Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools to deliver positive health behavior change through the transformative power of music, art and science. Rincon has assembled a passionate group of students who are working with 3 local elementary schools on a weekly basis to provide students and their families with opportunities to move and groove in pursuit of good health.

La Petit Mort
Philip Alex Mills (Undergraduate Catalyst)
Philip is a talented filmmaker who describes ‘La Petit Mort’ as ‘if David Lynch directed Call Me by Your Name’.  This short film revolves around a closeted man’s love affair with a talking Greek sculpture  designed to elevate the voices of the LGBTQIA community. Philip will collaborate with the Vanderbilt Lambda Association and the Vanderbilt Fine Arts Gallery and two-time Emmy nominated producer Danny Tepper to bring his short to fruition.

Chiara Sulprizio, Ph.D. (Faculty Catalyst)
In partnership with the Vanderbilt University department of Classical and Mediterranean Studies, Khameleon has created a short film showcasing an all-BIPOC student production of Euripides’ ancient Greek tragedy “Medea”.  This film includes highlights from the multidisciplinary production, including a dramatic monologue inspired by Britain’s Windrush scandal, and a newly composed choral song which draws on cross-cultural influences, including Gospel and Afro-Cuban rhythms, by Francesca Amewudah-Rivers. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with creators Shivaike Shaw and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers. 

Bass Street Neighborhood 
Angela Sutton, Ph.D. (Faculty Catalyst)
The Bass Street Neighborhood was the first, free post-Emancipation Black neighborhood in Nashville. The homes and church there were built by free Blacks and formerly enslaved people immediately after the Civil War. Many of its residents had been forced by the Union Army to build the neighboring fort, but it became the city’s first post-Emancipation free Black neighborhood. In the 1960’s most of the community was erased by the construction of Interstate 65, and the neighborhood’s significance has not been widely known. Dr. Sutton, who co-directs Fort Negley Descendant’s Projects, and her team are partnering with Dr. Andrew Wyatt of MTSU to complete a series of archeological digs.  Additionally, Dr. Sutton and her students are also using a late 19th century census specific to the Bass Street neighborhood to research the descendants of those first inhabitants and build out an ancestry connection database.