Vital Signs

About Vital Signs

In an effort to support student voice and action related to the Black Lives Matter movement, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the UMD Office of Diversity and Inclusion and UMD Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy in partnership with Black Terps Matter announced Vital Signs: Creative Arts for Black Lives Mini-Grants in Summer 2020. Grants are awarded to artists in the UMD community who are creating projects that affirm Black life and vitality and interrogate white supremacy and anti-Blackness. Five (5) mini-grants of $500 USD each will be awarded. Mini-grant funds are intended to support costs associated with the development of these projects.




Fall 2020 Grant Recipients & Works

Sadia Alao ('20)

Black Vitality

Black Vitality is a short film that explores the magnitude of what it means to be Black in America. It is a catharsis of pain as well as a celebration of culture. During the showcase, Alao will be performing poetry and spoken word pieces from the film.

Ines Donfack ('23) & Maya Lee ('23)


Redefine tells the story of pain and triumph among Black students at UMD. The project explores the internalized shame that Black students have been taught to feel for having common Black features. Redefine seeks to empower Black students to reject Eurocentric standards and embrace who they are.

Hunter Jones ('20)

Title TBD

This mural project looks to analyze the influence and impact of street art in College Park as well as to elevate queer and Black voices. The murals will depict University of Maryland leaders including Elaine J. Coates, David Driskell, Miss Toto (Rock Evans), Dr. Mary Berry and Ben Holman.

Stephen Lyons II ('23)

IGOR: A Virtual Love Affair

After a decade of repressed feelings, a gay man finally declares his love for his longtime best friend at the risk of ruining their relationship. IGOR: A Virtual Love Affair is a dance film inspired by music from Tyler, The Creator’s 2019 album. Will this declaration be worth it?

Chidinma Opaigbeogu ('21)

Jisike (Find Your Way Back)

Jisike (Find Your Way Back) is a poetry and short story chapbook focused on the cultural dissonance that Opaigbeogu has experienced as a Nigerian-American. Individual poems and the chapbook have been submitted for publication in various journals and contests. A short film of the short story And the Water Called Her is forthcoming in 2021.


Vital Signs Partners

Black Terps Matters

Black Terps Matter is a grassroots anti-racist communal coalition that aims to dismantle all forms and constructs of systemic racism and oppression at the University of Maryland. We employ transparency and intersectionality to support any and all forms of anti-racist idealism. We promote diverse experiences and perspectives substantiated by facts and data to educate expeditious activists whom we align ourselves with. We intend to hold all entities pertaining to the University accountable for every one of their actions, assertions, propensities, and implications.

UMD Office of Diversity & Inclusion

The UMD Office of Diversity & Inclusion serves the University of Maryland by providing leadership and expertise that enriches the experiences of individuals and builds stronger communities. ODI supports the efforts of campus units to achieve their diversity and inclusion goals.

UMD Office of Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy (MICA)

The UMD Office of Multicultural Involvement & Community Advocacy, a unit within the Adele H. Stamp Student Union and the Division of Student Affairs, stands firmly in our role to empower students through education on issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion and their intersections. In support of our campus' commitment to diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice, we advance a purposeful campus climate that capitalizes on the educational benefits of diversity, through student-centered advising, advocacy, programs, research, and practices. Our collective work results in positive student outcomes observable in their learning, identity development, involvement, and leadership.



Applications for Spring 2021 grants are Thu, Feb 4, 2021 • 11:59PM EST.


Both Black-identifying and non-Black-identifying creators may apply. For those applicants that are Black-identifying, we invite you to use this opportunity to creatively process any joy, pain, or vitality that you want to express. For those applicants that do not identify as Black, we ask that you approach your project and examine your topic from your own perspective with introspection and a critical eye.

We encourage students of all forms and levels of artistic experience to apply. Applicants do not need to be affiliated with a student organization.