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President's Report: 2004-2005 University of Virginia
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Seeing with Fresh Eyes, Exploring New Worlds

You see I am an enthusiast on the subject of the arts," Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison in 1785. Founded by one of the most aesthetically sophisticated Americans of his time, Student and faculty artists discover the risks and rewards of self-expression. the University shares his enthusiasm. In accord with the Virginia 2020 long-range plan, it is creating a new environment for the arts on Grounds. It is envisioning facilities and programs that inspire students and faculty to do their best work and that give every student the opportunity to make the arts an integral part of the University experience.

Learning from practicing artists who are continually exploring new avenues of self-expression, students

Ridge Light

Ridge Light, 2005. Oil on board. (Courtesy of Tibor De Nagy Gallery, New York). Phil Geiger, McIntire Department of Art.
discover that the arts involve taking risks, making critical judgments, and confronting themes of profound importance. Working both in traditional and new media, they interweave art and ideas in surprising and enlightening ways, as the following examples make clear.

Portraits of Young Artists

In Burim Jung’s two-minute film "I Am," side-by-side images of two young women fill the screen.

Colin Whitlow Burim Jung
Alice Bailey

Seeing the world differently: clockwise from upper left, graphic novelist Colin Whitlow; filmmaker Burim Jung; and photographer Alice Bailey
A voice repeats over and over: "I am American." "I am Korean." "I don’t want to be American." "I don’t want to be Korean." The statements begin to overlap until the film’s final message stands alone: "I am a Korean-American." A double major in studio art and drama, Ms. Jung (College ’05) brings the visual and performing arts together in her work, which explores such interrelated themes as identity, the stereotyping of Asian women, and the history of women in Korean society.

Ms. Jung, who immigrated to America as a seventh-grader with little command of English, drew from her own experiences and her studies in history and culture to inform her projects. Two of her pieces, "My Mother," a mixed-media work, and "Roots," produced with a


A Link to Australia

A Link to Australia

The Kluge-Ruhe Collection, one of the finest collections of Australian Aboriginal art in the world, has helped extend the global reach of the University. This summer, fifteen undergraduates studied the collection before joining curator Margo Smith in Australia for a four-week course offered by the Department of Anthropology. As part of the course, students camped with Aboriginal people in the remote outback. Tours and lectures at major museums, galleries, and cultural sites exposed students to Aboriginal art, Australian contact history, and ecological issues concerning indigenous people. Given to the University by John W. Kluge, the Kluge-Ruhe Collection holds approximately 1,600 paintings, sculptures, and artifacts acquired by Mr. Kluge and Edward L. Ruhe over a forty-year period. The collection is housed and exhibited at Peter Jefferson Place, a historic property east of Charlottesville given to the University by Mr. and Mrs. T. Eugene Worrell, Sr.

digital video camera, were the results of her research on Korea’s history of repeated invasions, including the subjugation of Korean "comfort women" by Japanese soldiers in World War II. Her senior show, "F.O.B. at U.Va.," comprised an installation piece portraying an Asian-American student who comes to the University "fresh off the boat." "There’s something about art that asks you to look differently, see differently," said Ms. Jung, who studied with photographer and filmmaker Kevin Everson and multimedia artist Christina Hung in the McIntire Department of Art.

The drive to see the world differently also is apparent in the work of Colin Whitlow (College ’04), recipient of an Aunspaugh Fifth-Year Fellowship. Established with a 1960 bequest from Virginia-born artist Vivian L. Aunspaugh, the fellowships enable students in the studio art program to remain at the University for an additional year after graduation to produce a focused body of work. Mr. Whitlow used the time to take a new approach to an old genre, the graphic novel. Called Lavender and Other Colors, the piece uses photography and dialogue to drive the narrative, which revolves around three members of a small-town family who are unhappy with their lives and who come to recognize their interconnectedness


Guided by Professionals

Students have the opportunity to learn from superb professionals and experienced performers at the University. In the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra, for example, student musicians are coached by the highly trained principals of each section. Thanks to the support of a number of benefactors, twelve of the symphony’s first-chair positions have been endowed to help recruit and retain these outstanding musicians.

Each summer, as many as thirty students take part in the productions of the Heritage Repertory Theatre, a professional company operated by the Department of Drama. During the academic year, undergraduates share onstage and backstage duties with gifted MFA students. Every three years, the department accepts a new cadre of eighteen graduate students, who in effect form a theater ensemble within the department.

Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine

Students also benefit from artist residencies. In September 2005, alumnus Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine (College ‘89, below) returned to the University for three days of workshops, discussions, and a performance of his one-man show, Biro. A New York Times Critics’ Pick in 2004, the play is based on the true story of a Ugandan caught up in the fight for national liberation and the devastation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. During his visit, Mr. Mwine joined infectious disease experts Dr. W. Michael Scheld, the Bayer Corporation/Gerald L. Mandell Professor of Internal Medicine, and Dr. Rebecca Dillingham of the School of Medicine in a panel on AIDS in Africa.

The School of Architecture routinely brings leading architects, landscape architects, and urban planners to the Grounds to deliver lectures and meet with students and faculty. Recent visitors include Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, who received the 2005 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture. Renowned for his use of low-cost and sustainable materials, he was the first to construct a building out of recycled paper with his Community Dome, a meeting place for victims of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. His paper log house has provided temporary shelter for refugees around the world. Another design pioneer, landscape architect Diana Balmori, came to the school as the first Harry W. Porter, Jr., Visiting Professor of Architecture. Among her ecologically sensitive designs is 20 River Terrace in Battery Park City, New York, which includes two green-roof terraces that save energy and water and require little maintenance. The building is considered the first green residential high-rise in North America.

when the son departs for college. As Mr. Whitlow wrote the screenplay and took tens of thousands of digital photos to illustrate it, several faculty members provided valuable assistance. English professor Karen Chase critiqued an early version of the script, drama professor Richard Warner assigned his acting class to the project, and studio art professor Kevin Everson lent his expertise as a filmmaker to supervise the crew.

Photographer Alice Bailey (College ’04), another Aunspaugh Fellow, produced a series of twenty-five portraits titled Facing Sexual Assault. Displayed in an exhibition that coincided with Take Back the Night, an annual rally held at the University and around the world to raise awareness of violence against women, children, and families, the large-format photographs make a powerful statement about the immediacy of the issue. Guided by William Wylie, a photographer on the faculty who uses large-format cameras in his work, Ms. Bailey created images of sexual assault victims at various stages in their healing journey. Those farthest along face the viewer directly. Other portraits show only the back of the head, a hand, or arm, indicating that the subjects are still early in the healing process.

The Art of Collaboration

The making of art can be a shared experience that brings together communities large and small. When minority students were

A community’s shared values: architecture and art professor Sanda Iliescu invited students to paint Abraham Lincoln’s immortal words on Beta Bridge.

A community’s shared values: architecture and art professor Sanda Iliescu invited students to paint Abraham Lincoln’s immortal words on Beta Bridge.
subjected to verbal assaults in a series of incidents at the opening of the 2005 school year, Sanda Iliescu, assistant professor of architecture and art, enlisted 271 students to join her in taking a stand against such intolerance. Prof. Iliescu, who fled from her native Romania when she was seventeen to seek asylum in the West, asked each participant to paint a word from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on Beta Bridge, calling attention to the fundamental values that unite us as a people.

A different kind of collaboration took place in "The Land of Wandering," a two-year printmaking project in which thirty faculty, alumni, and other artists and writers explored themes from the book of Genesis. For many of the pieces in the resulting exhibition and forthcoming book, a printmaker would start a work of art, then mail it to another artist, who would add a layer of interpretation before sending the work to yet another participant. The goal was to create a piece that is greater than the sum of its parts, according to studio art professor Dean Dass, who spearheaded the project. On display in the fall of 2005, "The Land of Wandering" is the first of a three-part printmaking endeavor based on one of the earliest encyclopedias, the 1493 Nuremberg Chronicle, which begins with the biblical creation story.

In the McIntire Department of Music, the making of new works can involve the collaboration of composer, performer, and technician. Judith Shatin, the William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Music and director of the Virginia Center for Computer Music, often creates pieces that intertwine acoustic instruments with computer-generated sounds. These can be taken from the music of the world around us, from the roar of a machine to the clink of a fork against a cup. Likewise, her colleague Matthew Burtner fuses music and technology in his compositions and in an instrument he

Peter Traub Adam Gustafson

Two approaches to composition: Peter Traub, at left with his score, used the Internet to create new sounds; cellist Adam Gustafson turned to historical instruments.
invented, the metasaxophone. By refitting a tenor saxophone with a microprocessor and sophisticated sensors, he converted the instrument into a computer controller that gives the player an extraordinary range of expressive possibilities.

Composer Peter Traub works in a similar vein. A former software engineer in Silicon Valley and now a student in the music department’s Ph.D. program, he holds the Edgar Shannon Jefferson Scholar Graduate Fellowship. This past spring he unveiled ground loops: for solo percussion and internet, a work in which sounds created on a vibraphone and other percussion instruments are sent over the Internet to computer servers across the country and relayed back into the concert hall. Using the distortion and delay that occur when a compressed music file moves


A Jefferson Ideal Comes into View

In 1961, Dr. Henry Landon (College ’44, Medicine ’47) and his wife, Barbara, began acquiring American paintings and decorative arts, focusing on works from the late seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.

John Singleton Copley’s Portrait of Mrs. Richard Crowninshield Derby as St. Cecilia, 1806

John Singleton Copley’s Portrait of Mrs. Richard Crowninshield Derby as St. Cecilia, 1806
Over the years, they built one of the finest collections of its kind. The fruits of their connoisseurship could be seen at the University of Virginia Art Museum this past year in an exhibition titled A Jeffersonian Ideal: Selections from the Dr. and Mrs. Henry C. Landon III Collection of American Fine and Decorative Arts. The fifty major works on display included pieces by Albert Bierstadt, John Singleton Copley, Childe Hassam, Winslow Homer, Thomas Moran, John Singer Sargent, Gilbert Stuart, and Benjamin West, as well as examples of furniture from such important centers of manufacture as Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Newport. "The University has long focused on American art with a particular emphasis on the period of Jefferson’s life and legacy. The exhibition strengthens the University’s commitment to its heritage," said Museum Director Jill Hartz, who received the Excellence in Peer Review Service Award from the American Association of Museums this past year. To help organize the exhibition, the museum turned to Maurie McInnis (College ’88) of the art history faculty and six graduate students in her material culture seminar. They selected works from the collection and consulted curators at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Colonial Williamsburg, and other museums for advice on how fine art and decorative arts can be displayed together to reveal what they say about their time. A lecture by Eleanor Jones Harvey (College ’83), an alumna of the art history program and chief curator of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, further underscored the significance of the collection. To view selections from A Jeffersonian Ideal online, visit www.virginia.edu/artmuseum/.

through computer networks, the piece builds up to a cascade of overlapping sounds of varying tones and timbres.

By contrast, undergraduate composer and cellist Adam Gustafson (College ’05) turned to period instruments and traditions for the works he premiered in his senior recital, which was supported by the Charles S. Roberts Scholarship Fund. The Virginia Viola da Gamba Consort joined him for a performance of his "Two Fantasies on the In Nomine." The debut of his "Two Psalms of Degrees for Choir and Organ" featured the historic Ernest Skinner pipe organ in Old Cabell Hall. Mr. Gustafson studied composition with Prof. Shatin and cello with Amy Leung, who holds the Genevieve B. Horween and Marion H. Chase Chair in the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra.

In Step with the Times

The Department of Drama recently filled a prominent gap in the arts curriculum at the University by introducing classes in dance. New faculty


All Strings Attached

Richard WillReaching well beyond the European classical tradition, the study of music at the University embraces cultures that extend from Africa to Appalachia. In that spirit, Richard Will (at right) provides a bridge between musical genres that seem worlds apart. An authority on the symphonies of Haydn and Beethoven and the role of music in late-eighteenth-century society, Prof. Will is a bluegrass fiddler who teaches courses on American roots music. With a grant from the Ernest C. Mead Endowment, he began bringing student and community musicians together each week for an evening of pickin’ and pizza, a practice he continued this past year.

member Tricia Gooley teaches modern dance, jazz, and choreography in the department and is director of the color guard for the new Cavalier Marching Band. A graduate of New York University who holds a master’s degree in dance education, Ms. Gooley has worked with such artists as Douglas Dunn, Renata Celichowska, and Nancy Allison. She choreographed the Department of Drama’s spring musical, The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Her classes complement student efforts to make dance a prominent part of the University arts scene. They have formed several independent dance companies on Grounds.

Taking Their Own Initiative

Students at the University find a wide variety of outlets for their creativity beyond the studio and classroom. Rebecca McCharen, a third-year student in the School of Architecture, organized the fashion show for the Fourth Annual Fringe Festival, a weeklong arts extravaganza held in conjunction with the Virginia Film Festival. In keeping with the Film Festival’s 2003 theme, "$," Ms. McCharen challenged designers to create outfits in several categories, such as clothes made out of money, clothes made with no money, and clothes made with lots of money. A painter and collage artist who also studies cinematography, Ms. McCharen is among a group of student artists who created their own gallery space in the International Residential College, housed in the Munford and Gwathmey residence halls.

Student artists have a new way to finance such creative endeavors. With seed money from the Parents Program, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and Student Council, the Student Art Committee created the Independent Student Art Project Fund. It provides $3,000 annually for student arts initiatives, which can range from plays, literary journals, and art exhibitions to films, video documentaries, and multimedia projects. Although not limited to non-art majors, the fund is intended to support projects outside the regular arts curriculum.

Arts on the Web

To stay abreast of the arts at the University and in the Charlottesville community, visit www.virginia.edu/arts/. The site offers a regularly updated calendar of theater productions, concerts, exhibitions, and arts festivals in and around the University.

building for our future

The University has taken the first steps toward realizing its master plan for the Arts Grounds, an effort to provide new, renovated, and expanded facilities for all of the fine and performing arts. The goal is to create a vibrant new hub of intellectual and imaginative activity near the historic heart of the University.


Ruffin Hall
Ruffin Hall, the new studio art building, will border a green space known as the Arts Common.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Fayerweather Hall, built more than a century ago as a gymnasium, is being transformed into a new home for the art history program. The handsome neoclassical building will provide new offices for faculty and graduate assistants, an archaeology study facility, new meeting and seminar rooms, and a library of visual resources. Financed in part by a state bond issue approved by voters in 2002, the $7.7 million restoration is bringing back lost features of the building, such as a roof monitor that will bathe interior spaces with natural light. The project is on target for completion in February 2006.

SOON TO BEGIN

Work will get under way soon on Ruffin Hall, a new studio art building just west of Rugby Road. Funded with state support and a gift from the Peter B. and Adeline W. Ruffin Foundation, the facility will provide low-maintenance spaces designed specifically for the teaching of painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, and new digital media. Gallery areas for exhibiting work by students, members of the department, and visiting artists will showcase new directions in contemporary art. Nearby, a 500-car parking garage will be constructed to serve the Arts Grounds and to replace parking spaces lost to the new studio art building.

The School of Architecture has met its fund-raising goal for expansion of Campbell Hall, its home for more than thirty years. Designed with the participation of prominent architects and landscape architects on the faculty, the $10 million project includes a new entry building to the east housing flexible space for reviewing student work. To the south, a new bank of twenty-six faculty offices will be linked to nearby studios and teaching spaces, much as the pavilions open onto the Lawn.

IN DESIGN

This past year, the University unveiled plans for the Center for the Arts, a complex at the corner of Emmet Street and Ivy Road that will serve as a dramatic new gateway to the University. Fund-raising is under way for the project, which is still in design. As now conceived, its first phase will be the new University Art Museum. With the latest climate-control systems and spacious galleries, including a gallery devoted to the legacy of Thomas Jefferson and his influence on American art and culture, the building will enable the museum to show much more of its 10,000-piece collection and to attract prestigious traveling exhibitions. A theater and screening room will accommodate presentations of film and other media. In a later phase, the University will add a performance hall to the complex. It will provide an ideal venue for concerts, musical theater, and arts festivals built around a central theme. It will be the site for many of the music department's student and faculty performances, including concerts by the Charlottesville and University Symphony Orchestra. To learn more about the Center for the Arts and other elements of the Arts Grounds project, visit www.virginia.edu/supportuva/.

University Art Museum
Conceptual view of the new University Art Museum on Ivy Road

 

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