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Class of 2014: Roo George-Warren curates his own adventures

by Apr. 18, 2014, 3:51 PM

Roo George-Warren (Susan Urmy/Vanderbilt)

Being a facilitator is DeLesslin “Roo” George-Warren’s modus operandi.

This senior with the interesting nickname—given to him by an older sister—is a musical arts/voice major at Blair School of Music with a concentration in composition. He has been Blair Student Council president for the past two years, an executive board member of the AmbassaDores tour guides and a two-time Alternative Spring Break site leader, among other activities. Labeling his time management style chaotic, George-Warren navigates his busy schedule by identifying connections between people and ideas.

“Just this year I realized that being a leader is more about facilitating other people’s ideas,” he said.

Last summer, George-Warren received a fellowship to help former Vanderbilt visual arts professor Amelia Winger-Bearskin with research on interactive art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. After he arrived, MOMA nixed the fellowship. With 10 weeks of rent already paid, George-Warren contacted Make Music New York and became an after-dark coordinator for its outdoor concert series. He also created 10 performance art pieces and worked with a Native American activist group.

“Losing the fellowship was scary for a couple of days, but I figured it out,” he said.

His penchant for seeing connections resulted in an exhibit this spring with Vanderbilt’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society. “Health and Art: Master Potters of the Catawba Indian Nation” showcased the work of master potters from George-Warren’s tribe—he grew up on the Catawba reservation in Rock Hill, S.C.—while combining stories from his tribe and Native American health statistics.

George-Warren finds that his music degree creates the perfect base from which to tackle life. “It’s always interesting to hear people talk about how the arts aren’t very practical,” he said. “I feel I’ve learned many skills from practicing, performing, thinking on my feet, dealing with pressure, having a creative idea and thinking of ways to get there or get close to it.

“Regardless of what I do later in life, I want to do art and music forever,” he said.