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Fine and Performing Arts Planning Commission

Meeting Minutes

Thursday, March 25, 1999

Attendees: Bob Chapel (Chairman), Samantha Beer, Sage Blaska, Julian Connolly, Jim Cooper, Dean Dass, Lear DeBessonet, Joan Fry, George Garrett, Larry Goedde, Jeff Hantman, Jill Hartz, Richard Herskowitz, Denise Karaoli, Phyllis Leffler, Fred Maus (for Marita McClymonds), and Jack Robertson.

Meeting Summary:

Bob Chapel presented a plan of work for the commission, which he had presented to senior leadership on March 22nd. It included the scope of the commission’s study, selection of the aspiration group, plans to invite the heads of selected programs to speak to the commission, data comparing Virginia’s programs to those to which we aspire (metrics), assessment of Virginia’s comparative strengths and shortcomings, strategies for improvement, and a national conference on the arts. Mr. Chapel reported that an arts fundraising feasibility study is being conducted, and he and Beth Sutton had a very productive meeting with local civic leaders, to discuss the commission’s work and to explore ways to coordinate and cooperate with the various arts efforts taking place in the community.

Larry Goedde presented an overview of art history at the University. Art history ranks 16th nationally. It has excellent faculty and strong library holdings. Its weaknesses include the need to recruit additional faculty and inadequate graduate funding. The crisis, however, concerns facilities: Fayerweather Hall is too small and in a state of decay. Art history needs a strong, functioning museum program. Mr. Goedde said that the University of Virginia is unusual in the placement of the history of architecture in the School of Architecture, and he wants to combine the strengths of the architectural historians with those of the art historians to the extent possible.

Dean Dass, reported on the studio art program, which is good but small and without adequate facilities and resources. Eight full-time faculty members and one adjunct are inadequate to meet student demand for classes. Studio art needs an expanded gallery and a visiting artists program. Additional faculty who teach drawing and "new genres" could serve more students and attract potential majors who now choose to go elsewhere. Studio art has devised a very small 5th year program; it would like to offer an MFA, and it would like to participate in a more interdisciplinary organization of related studies.

Virginia, as a college of the liberal arts, has traditionally emphasized history and theory in its fine and performing arts majors. Is Virginia is moving in the direction of performance? This will be the subject of future discussion.


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