Arts and culture

Urban learning. Global impact.

At Wayne State University, we are passionate about sparking the imagination. Our main campus in Detroit's Cultural Center offers WSU students unparalleled access to world-class cultural resources including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Public Library and Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. While Warriors study artistic expression, they have the opportunity to enrich the community through such initiatives as our mobile arts workshop, JazzWeek@Wayne and the Performance/Exchange artist-in-residence program. We are proud to develop and champion talents at Wayne State as they inspire the city and become leaders in art, music, dance, theatre, communication and more.

Wayne State University's CFPCA: Be Inspired.


Kidada Williams

Renowned historian and expert on African Americans' experiences of racial violence. Author of They Left Great Marks on Me and "The Aftermaths of Lynching," which broke new ground on historians' understanding of white terror. Nationally invited lecturer who has been featured in the New York Times and Slate, with research funded by the Ford Foundation. Co-developer of the #CharlestonSyllabus. Recipient of multiple teaching awards. Lifetime member of the Association of Black Women Historians and the Southern Association of Women Historians.

Jorge Chinea

Director, Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies. Recipient of the Hispanic Business Alliance's Excellence in Education Award. Recognized in Maquis' Who's Who in America. Recognized national media expert in the LatinX experience in the United States as well as Latin American and Caribbean history and culture. Member of the ACLU of Michigan's Advisory Board and the Labor@Wayne Internal Board. Recipient of numerous grants and research awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Society for Irish Latin American Studies and others. Author of several books, chapters and scholarly articles. Invited guest speaker and presenter at conferences in Europe and the Americas.

Dora Apel

Dora Apel has devoted her work to analyzing traumatic imagery and its implications for race, gender and politics in modern and contemporary society. This investigation began with her book Memory Effects, on second generation artists coming to terms with the Holocaust, and continued with explorations of images of racial violence in Imagery of Lynching and Lynching Photographs (co-authored with Shawn Michelle Smith), and of contemporary war imagery in War Culture and the Contest of Images. Her most recent book, Beautiful Terrible Ruins: Detroit and the Anxiety of Decline, turns a critical lens on the imagery of Detroit and other deindustrialized cities.

Jack Lessenberry

Jack Lessenberry is the area head of the journalism faculty at Wayne State University, primarily teaches COM 5080, History and Law of Journalism, and COM 5250, Issues in News Media Management, as well as supervisor of all internships for the Department of Communication. He also holds the professional journalist's seat on the WSU Board of Student Publications. When not at Wayne, he serves as Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst and does on-air interviews and commentary on three NPR affiliates every day. He also hosts the weekly television show “Deadline Now” on WGTE-TV, a public broadcasting station in Ohio.

In April, Lessenberry received the distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Detroit Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). Jack is also Michigan Radio’s senior political analyst and a columnist for the Metro Times and the Toledo Blade.  

Featured experts

  • Art Therapy as an innovative means to resolving issues

    Holly Feen has worked as an art therapist for twenty plus years in adult psychiatry, closed head injury, and chemical dependency treatment programs. 

  • Professor Kelly Jakes takes rhetoric to another note

    Kelly Jakes (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin) joined the Wayne State communication studies faculty, Fall 2014. Her research focuses broadly on issues pertaining to rhetoric and culture, with special attention to social movements, resistance and music. She examines how marginalized or dissident citizens use verbal and nonverbal discourse to build solidarity, reassign political authority and contest norms of national identity, gender, race and class. Overall, her work combines concepts of subjectivity and performance with the deeply contextualized study of oral communication. Jakes' critically and theoretically informed approach to rhetoric is best reflected in her book project Popular Music and Resistance in Occupied France, 1940-1945.