Fine and Performing Arts Commission
April 4, 2000
Attending: Bob Chapel (Chair), Hilary Alger, Nancy Brockman, Marcia Day Childress,
Julian Connolly, Jim Cooper, Wayne Cozart, Ed Davis, Dean Dass, Angela Davis, Ed Davis,
Lear DeBessonet, Johanna Drucker, Jane Ford, Joan Fry, Sandy German, Larry Goedde, Jill
Hartz, Richard Herskowitz, LaVahn Hoh, Shona Hunter, Judith Kinnard, Marita McClymond,
Jane Penner, Clo Phillips, Jack Robertson, George Sampson, James Scales, Judith Shatin,
Lisa Spaar, and Bill Sublette. Also attending were guests, Sage Blaska and Ann Lane.
Mr. Chapel asked each department chair to complete their benchmarking by May 2. The
benchmarks will provide the basis for comparing UVAs arts resources, including
faculty, facilities, revenue streams, and certain other measures, with those of other
institutions. These comparative data from peer institutions will form the basis for the
arts to justify their needs.
Shona Hunter, Sage Blaska, and Ann Lane spoke in support of a proposed program in
dance. Students want a dance program that is interdisciplinary and multi-cultural, and not
part of music or drama. Studies in Women and Gender can offer a temporary home for dance
classes while a formal program proposal is worked out. The ensuing discussion covered
space, appropriate floors in facilities, cooperative planning, funding, and the
integration of dance with the other arts.
Mr. Chapel asked each department chair to identify three to five program priorities and
to be prepared to discuss these at the next meeting (April 18, 2000). This information
will help generate the arts vision statement, which is being drafted. Mr. Chapel reported
progress on the new comprehensive arts newsletter.
LaVahn Hoh is developing criteria for a national master list of secondary schools with
strengths in the arts. He hopes to identify 10-15 schools per state that would be
excellent sources for recruiting arts students.
The planned Arts Sems event will take place on April 5 or 19, 2001, and the lower Lawn
and McIntire Amphitheater have been reserved for this purpose.
Mr. Chapel will meet with Bob Sweeney and Laurie Kelsh about the commission budget and
time frame for completion of the commissions work. He said he continues to consider
a closing conference along the lines of Robert Rosenzweigs suggestion: "The
Arts in the University, and the University in the Arts."
The Virginia legislature approved capital expenditures of $400,000 for renovating
Fayerweather Hall and $9 million for a studio art building. Given the Governors veto
power, the funding is not certain. Regardless, advance planning will proceed for all
buildings in the precinct, and those concerned seem to be pleased with the evolving site
plan for the Arts Precinct. Members of the neighboring community need to know that a new
Performing Arts Hall will be located off University Avenue near Clemons Library (not on
Carrs Hill). This new location should allay worries about additional traffic.
Mr. Chapel is pursuing a proposed arts lecture, which would engage Stephen Sondheim,
composer; Dominick Dunne, writer; Charles Hollerith, Jr., theater producer; Howard
Erskine, theater producer; and Ford Schumann, artist in a panel discussion on the arts.
An alumnus has given $500,000 to the drama department ($50,000 for a feasibility study
of the proposed additions, and the balance TBA). Music received a $300,000 gift toward its
new building, plus a $1 million land donation for its performance hall. And a Board member
recently committed $50,000 for the feasibility study of the building for the music
Mr. Chapel discussed the emphasis on national rankings of arts programs, and suggested
that this should not be our central focus. Mr. Chapel proposed that instead of focusing
too much on existing rankings, we should strive to become unique, excellent within that
uniqueness, and let the rankings follow.
Lear DeBessonet reported that she met with the leaders of the 28 Arts-related
CIOs (Contracted Independent Organizations) regarding the proposed "Arts
Explosion," and found great enthusiasm for the project. She is moving forward with
Chairs of the arts departments are asked attend the next meeting on April 18. Any other
members who wish to work on the programmatic statement may attend.
Joan Fry and James Scales