Thanks to more than $170 million in private support for arts-related priorities raised during the campaign, the University of Virginia is making significant progress toward its goal of creating a holistic and revitalized environment for the arts on the Grounds. Private gifts enabled — and continue to enable — the University to build and renovate arts facilities, which enhance its academic and performance arts programs. The energy and space created by the building enhancements make the arts a more integral part of every U.Va. student’s experience and provide inspiration to the University and Charlottesville communities and beyond. Areas that have enjoyed new growth and support include community engagement programs such as the Virginia Film Festival (held each fall), the summertime Heritage Theatre Festival and the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra; world-class exhibitions at The Fralin Museum of Art; the Final Fridays program; and artist and art scholar residencies. Art is also increasingly integrated into the curriculum through avenues such as the College Arts Scholars program, departmental collaborations and for-credit University Museum Internships.
Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds
During the campaign, more than $38 million of the private gifts made to arts priorities went toward capital projects. The Drama Building’s stunning new 300-seat thrust Ruth Caplin Theatre, which opened in the spring of 2013, was the latest in a string of expansions, renovations and new construction on the Arts Grounds. Other projects included the new Ruffin Hall (studio art) and Hunter Smith Band Building, plus renovation and/or expansion of Fayerweather Hall (houses the McIntire Department of Art), Campbell Hall (School of Architecture) and the Bayly Building (The Fralin Museum of Art). Together, arts-related capital projects resulted in more than 90,000 square feet of added academic or exhibition space, plus a new parking garage on Culbreth Road serving the Arts Grounds. In 2010, the Arts Grounds precinct was named for retiring President John T. Casteen III and his wife, Betsy.
The Fralin Museum of Art
In 2012, Cynthia and W. Heywood Fralin (Col ’62), longtime supporters of the arts in Virginia, announced their intention to donate their collection of American art to the University of Virginia Art Museum. The 40-piece collection — which includes works by John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt and Robert Henri — represented the largest single gift of art in the University’s history. To honor this major contribution, as well as Heywood Fralin’s lifetime of service to U.Va., the Board of Visitors voted in May 2012 to rename the nationally accredited museum The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia. The Fralin collection will enrich the museum’s holdings in American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries and serve as a teaching instrument — a purpose for which more and more professors are using the museum.
Gifts at Work
Expanding Opportunities for College Arts Scholars
Each year since 2011, 15 to 20 incoming undergraduates have been named College Arts Scholars. These students — from any major — interact closely with U.Va.’s most distinguished arts faculty, gather regularly for exclusive events and are eligible for summer research awards. The special access and experiences afforded to the Scholars can be “eye-opening,” according to Michael Rasbury, the program’s director and an associate professor in the Department of Drama. For example, Max Krembs (Col ’12) accompanied Rasbury to New York City to help produce sounds and music for an off-Broadway production. That experience was a springboard for his subsequent role, in the summer of 2012, as a sound designer/composer (along with Rasbury) at the nationally recognized Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Two donor families have played pivotal roles in making more opportunities like these available to students with interest and talent in the arts. A 2011 gift from Evelyn McGee Colbert (Col ’85) and her husband, comedian Stephen Colbert, helped raise the program’s visibility and allowed it to shift to a full four-year program. In the fall of 2012, Sandy Miller (Col ’71) and his wife, Vinie Zhang Miller, designated $2 million for a new, dedicated J. Sanford Miller Family Fund for Arts Scholars, further expanding the program.