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Commission on the Fine and Performing Arts
Minutes
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 Wheeler.

Bob Chapel, Chair of the commission, presented an outline for the commission’s 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 UVA’s 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 other’s 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 the University.

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 Carr’s 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.

Respectfully submitted,

Joan Fry

2/18/2000

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