Original work is drawn from 40 interviews with artists of color.

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Not everyone’s senior thesis ends up on stage, but “Raisins in a Glass of Milk” has had multiple outings since Cornish College of the Arts alumni Maya Burton, Alexandria Chipman, and Sherif Amin began their collaboration.

The original work is drawn from 40 interviews with artists of color done by Burton and Chipman. The evocative title comes from Burton’s own experiences. “Before I went off to college,” says Burton, “I had a mentor that I deeply trust tell me, ‘Get ready, girl, because being black in the theater is like being the only raisin left in your bowl of milk.’ When I heard that, of course I laughed and didn’t really think about it. Then I left home, South Florida, and moved to Seattle, and I quickly understood exactly what he was talking about.”

Burton and Chipman created the “Raisins” during their senior year with Sherif Amin, who doubled as actor and producer. The script evolved with input from their director Rafael Molina, the points of view of the cast, and from their dramaturg, Jeramiah Holt ’17, “who questioned us from the perspective of a white person,” according to Burton. They also credit a number of faculty mentors who helped them rehearse the piece, including “our fearless leader, the chair of the Theater department, Richard E.T. White.”

After graduation, Cornish Presents, the college’s visiting and professional artists series, asked them to restage the work last summer. That was followed by an engagement at the new 18th and Union theater in February. A local theater critic called these performances “deeply humanizing and poetic.”

“Essentially we bring the hilarious, heartbreaking, and shocking events that artists of color experience out if the darkness and into the spotlight,” wrote Chipman and Burton in an email exchange, “while aiming to prove that People of Color should finally be seen as a standard, essential part of storytelling as opposed to stereotypes, controversies, and out-of-date statements.”

At Cornish College of the Arts, students have been encouraged to become “artists, citizens, and innovators” for more than 100 years. Performances and exhibitions can be found at cornish.edu.