Commission on the Fine and Performing Arts
February 8, 2000
Attendance: Bob Chapel (Chair), Hilary Alger, Nancy Brockman, Julian Connolly, James
Cooper, Dean Dass, Angela Davis, Lear DeBessonet, Johanna Drucker, Jane Ford, Joan Fry,
Sandra German, Jill Hartz, Richard Herskowitz, LaVahn Hoh, Shona Hunter, Denise Karaoli,
Judith Kinnard, Phyllis Leffler, Marita McClymonds, Jane Penner, Clorissa Phillips, Jack
Robertson, James Scales, Judith Shatin, Lisa Spaar, Bill Sublette, Beth Sutton, and Susan
Bob Chapel, Chair of the commission, presented an outline for the commissions
remaining work, which he plans to finish by May 31, 2001. Each department will document
benchmarks for the top three to five programs in its discipline, as ranked by the National
Research Council or U.S. News and World Report, and list the benchmarks for one to three
programs that each emulates. Each department is to write a vision statement for its
program and set priorities within this vision. The arts departments will work as a group
to develop and articulate a vision for the arts as a whole at the University, and set
priorities: near term (three to five years), midway (five to 15 years), and for the longer
term (15-20 years).
By May 2, 2000, the commission should agree on a site plan and an architectural plan
for the Arts Precinct and determine with some precision the needs for each new building,
in keeping with budget limits. As part of the planning process, members of the commission
will visit a number of arts facilities.
During the spring, the commission will work on raising awareness of UVAs arts
locally, around the Commonwealth, and throughout the nation. Commission members will also
lobby on Grounds to make a course in the arts a graduation requirement.
Faculty members in the arts faculties met as a group to initiate a conversation so that
they can get to know each other; hear about each others teaching, research, and
creative endeavors; discover common interests; and begin to think as a connected group.
The first conversation in January was remarkably successful, and they will continue.
The commission will consider the recurring question of whether the arts should remain a
part of the College of Arts and Science, or should the arts create a separate, new College
of Fine and Performing Arts. Four deans who oversee outstanding arts programs, two from
institutions which house the arts in a college of arts and science, and two which have
separate colleges of fine arts, will be invited to talk the commission about the
advantages and disadvantages of each model.
The interdisciplinary sub-committee has developed a proposal for the spring 2001
semester to launch six seminars (in music, drama, visual arts, dance, spatial arts, and
creative writing) each with its own focus, but linked to a single arts theme. The six
seminars would be modeled after the "U-Sems" and taught by arts and non-arts
faculty. Each would use a guest faculty artist. A culminating arts "happening"
on the Lawn would bring together the six seminars and unite the arts around the single
theme. Further planning will involve each of the arts departments.
Work is progressing on a draft vision statement for the arts. Plans are also being
developed for a versatile all-arts newsletter, which could stand on its own as a discrete
publication or could be inserted into other publications. There is also discussion of an
annual poster for recruiting arts students in high schools. The UVA arts website
htt../www.virginia.edu/arts.html is another effective means of publicizing the arts at
Peter Low, Vice President and Provost, will coordinate the overall programmatic, fund
raising, and physical planning for the Arts Precinct. Representatives from these groups
will meet once a month.
The University has submitted a budget request to the legislature to fund the
Fayerweather Hall remodeling project and construction of the new studio arts building. A
revised arrangement of the buildings in the Arts Precinct is under discussion. If studio
art were built on Rugby Road, all the visual arts would occupy the east side of the Arts
Precinct along Rugby Road (art history, studio art, and the University museum). The music
building could be beside drama. A combined fine arts library could take advantage of the
slope along the railroad track on the north side of Carrs Hill. The hope is to reach
agreement on the layout of the Arts Precinct by the end of the semester.
A theater-planning consultant met with the faculty involved with the performance hall.
The vision is for an acoustically excellent, versatile concert hall that seats 1200-1500,
with flexible rehearsal spaces, backstage areas, and lobby space for the display of art
and for crowds to circulate. A site study of the area beside Clemmons will be completed
shortly. An examination of administrative structures and models for managing a performance
hall (and their costs) will be part of the planning process.
Mr. Chapel reported that the group discussing a possible lecture series in the arts has
not yet concluded its deliberations.