The Science & Art Project came about as a result of the Spotlight Discussion Series, originated by Rosamond Casey, visual artist and teacher at Charlottesville’s McGuffey Art Center.
The title of the discussion was “How Ideas Emerge in Science and Art.” Participants included Tom Skalak, vice president for research at U.Va.; James Coan, director of the U.Va. Affective Neuroscience Laboratory; Ted Coffey, assistant professor of music, U.Va.; and Susan Skalak, design engineer.
After the presentation, Susan Crowder, a sculptor and installation artist, and Rosamond made a proposal to the Spotlight speakers and to the director of the U.Va. Art Museum. They suggested creating a project in Charlottesville designed to enable artists and scientists to collaborate. From that spark, the Science & Art Project was born.
Tom brought the conceptual ideas to later discussions with Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Vice Provost for the Arts at U.Va. Support for this initiative also came from Arthur Garson, Jr., M.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, U.Va., through his deep appreciation for the role of the creative arts in developing people in all professions, and belief that this program could be become a “model for the world.”