University-wide Arts Initiative

September 14th, 2011

From: Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Boston University has long supported artistic study and creation as integral to its academic efforts, drawing on the strength of our professional programs in music, theatre, and visual arts, our arts-focused academic programs in fields such as musicology and art history, and a vibrant constellation of arts-based student clubs, groups and organizations.

Recognizing this rich tradition and the vast intellectual and creative capacity of our students, faculty, staff and community, I have charged a group of leaders to help envision a University-wide Arts Initiative that will improve visibility for the University’s broad array of existing arts-related activities and create a programming framework to enhance access to and involvement with the arts campus-wide.

Dean of the College of Communication, Tom Fiedler, Dean of the Marsh Chapel, Robert Hill, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, Benjamin Juarez, and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Virginia Sapiro, have agreed to provide collective leadership for outlining the initiative’s vision. As this will be a University-level effort with significant central funding, Associate Provost for Strategic Initiatives, Nicole Hawkes, and Dean of Students, Kenn Elmore will also participate in this planning stage on behalf of the Office of the Provost.

This planning group is charged with developing the scope and organization of the initiative, which will include several annual, signature events to highlight excellence in the arts at BU, as well as to further embed the arts in the intellectual and cultural life of Boston University. The initiative will accomplish the following goals:

  1. Ensure that BU students develop an active and participatory role in the arts as a meaningful element of their undergraduate experience;
  2. Raise the visibility and bring recognition to the breadth and excellence of arts programs and activities at BU;
  3. Further elevate BU’s contribution to sustaining engaged audiences for the arts within the University and city of Boston.

I have asked the planning group to present their recommendations to me by January 2012, at which time we will engage a broader array of faculty, students, and staff to participate in guiding the initiative forward.

In the interim, the current Arts Live @ BU website, launched last spring, will continue to function as a central portal to the many arts and cultural events on campus and the surrounding area, but will move under the purview of Student Affairs. The site will continue to offer calendar listings for campus and local events, and content will be enhanced by BU undergraduates serving as “ambassadors to the arts,” helping to inform and organize fellow students around opportunities to attend performances, exhibitions, and events, and providing a lively forum for student discussion and critique.

As we work to further develop and enhance curricular access to the arts, including the recommendations outlined in the “One BU” Task Force Report, it is my hope that such a University-wide arts initiative will augment these efforts outside the classroom and help to spark artistic engagement as a fundamental aspect of the student experience at Boston University.

University-wide Arts Initiative – 9.14.11

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