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Fine and Performing Arts Commission

Meeting Minutes

February 16, 1999



Robert Chapel (Chair), Samantha Beer, Julian Connolly, James Cooper, Wayne Cozart, Dean Dass, Edward Davis, Lisa Lear DeBessonet, Joan Fry, Larry Goedde, Jeff Hantman, Richard Herskowitz Denise Karaoli, Judith Kinnard, Phyllis Leffler, Marita McClymonds, Jane Penner, George Sampson, Bill Sublette, Beth Sutton.

Meeting Summary:

President Casteen attended the meeting. He summarized several opportunities the University has missed over the last 25 years, and discussed how international activities, science and technology, public service and outreach, and the fine and performing arts have not received the attention that is critical to achieving excellence. The work of the commissions should remedy the situation. He charged the commission to identify benchmark programs from among the best AAU schools; assess our programs’ strengths and weaknesses; evaluate opportunities for achieving excellence and determine what it will take to close the gap; draw up plans based in fact and supported by data for achieving our goals; and recommend timetables and strategies. Mr. Casteen stressed the importance of planning the programs before contemplating buildings. He praised the Dagit Saylor feasibility study for its good use of existing structures and the land envisioned for an arts precinct. He cautioned that the plan was not set. No cost controls have been applied. A bridge and underground library stacks make the concept expensive. He stressed that planning programs must precede planning the facilities to house them. Mr. Casteen then answered questions. He urged the commission to plan an ambitious conference that will merit national attention.

Discussion and questions:

After Mr. Casteen’s departure, members of the commission reported their findings that admissions makes no special efforts to recruit students who wish to study the arts, nor are there special arts scholarships. Mr. Chapel was asked about the extent to which drama had met the twenty-one goals it had set in its 1990 ten-year plan. He replied that the department had met seven of its top ten goals. When asked what the music faculty thinks about strengthening the performance component of its program, Ms. McClymonds replied that music wishes to avoid the traditional split between the academic study of music and its performance, and the department is proceeding carefully to try to find a new way to combine the two. Performance is expensive, since it involves the cost of full-time performance faculty and the cost of music lessons for students.

Mr. Chapel reported that the Office of University Development is aware of the commission’s activities and will be ready to produce documents in support of fund raising at the appropriate time.

Actions to be taken:

Mr. Chapel asked commissioners to continue work on the tasks assigned and to send him suggestions or ideas via e-mail.


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