Tufts mourns unexpected loss of Danielle Abrams

Danielle Abrams, professor of the practice in the performance department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, has passed away unexpectedly, Interim Dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts Nate Harrison and Faculty Affairs Advisor to the Dean Eulogio Guzmán announced in an April 21 email to the Tufts community.

“To say Danielle was a beloved member of the community is a vast understatement,” the email read. “Since her arrival at SMFA as a visiting performance artist, Danielle brought an immense joy and deep affection to whomever had the pleasure of meeting her.”

Abrams showcased her performances at galleries, festivals and museums including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Detroit Institute of the Arts, Bronx Museum of the Arts, the New York Foundation of the Arts and the Urban Arts Initiative. Many of her performances have featured characters that emerged from her interracial family and from important figures in art history and pop culture.

“Her personal mission to give voice to all who feel marginalized, embodied in her own queer and mixed race identities, made her a powerful spokesperson of the struggles, resilience, and triumphs of traditionally marginalized groups,” the email read.

Abrams was the 2018 recipient of the Distinguished Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. At the SMFA, she taught courses in beginning and advanced performance, as well as a course titled Social Engagement: Practice and Theory.

Abrams was known amongst her colleagues and students for “her many marvelous, playful, sassy personae.”

“Danielle lifted us during the difficult times and always made us feel something better lay ahead,” the email read. “We mourn the loss of such a splendorous bird and thank her for sharing her song with us.”

Harrison and Guzmán urged students, faculty and staff to attend the opening reception for Abrams’ and Professor Mary Ellen Strom’s exhibit “Rights Along the Shore” at the Boston Center for the Arts on Friday.

Tufts Counseling and Mental Health Services is holding additional drop-in hours the week of April 25, in addition to its normal appointments. The email also included a guide of university resources, including the Tufts Employee Assistance Program, the Division of Student Diversity and Inclusion and the University Chaplaincy.


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