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Comments Jun 1, 2018 9:04 am

I would like to see a messaging that goes a little deeper into what it means to lead in the arts. Why should the arts lead other fields? What does it have to offer that other units don't. Arts are so much more than the narrow concept of entertainment and have aligned strengths with our campus' history in innovation, achieving the impossible, creative problem solving, building empathy between communities, individuals and nations. Arts are human-centered. Illinois is rather unique in the grouping of "arts" within the College, the environmental, performing and visual - how is that a strength for us moving forward?  And always - more images. We have an amazing arts photographer on staff who can share a lot of highly impactful photos from across our units. How about audio clips of Music? 360-degree panoramic photos of designed spaces? 

Reply to at 9:04 am Jun 1, 2018 9:02 am

Dear committee members:

Writing as an art historian, I found it disheartening to see that historical studies have no place in your strategic vision. It is telling that the single art historian on the U-C campus who was chosen to serve on the prestigious task forces, if you will, was assigned to the Humanities sector, not to the Arts sector. And the historian who was chosen is a specialist in 20th-century American art, especially photography. Perhaps it is time for the university to decide where Art History belongs on the U-C campus, if it belongs at all.

Further, you write about the library in your report. The library is no longer the world-class institution you describe. Are you not aware of the cut backs that have been made in the library for over a decade now? Artstor has been diminished; electronic reserves were eliminated; journal subscriptions have been cancelled; a book is not purchased if a copy has been purchased by another Illinois library. But, of course, since your committe did not consider the needs or contributions made to FAA by the historians currently holding tenuous positions in the College, you may not have looked into this.

Finally, I did not notice too much interest in arts that thrive outside the United States. You had a few phoitographs of an African art exhibit at Krannert, but you did not note that the Asia Gallery was closed by the former director of the museum. And yet the population of your student body is famously high in Chinese nationals. I wonder how you explain this indifference?

Good luck with advancing the arts at Illinois,

Yours sincerely,

Anne Burkus-Chasson

Senior Fellow, Canter for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Reply to at 9:02 am Feb 19, 2018 2:58 pm

Two recommendations for the Theatre aspect, specifically.  For context, I hold an MFA in the field, and have been involved with the professional theatre for many years, a good bit of that as an Equity actor.  Having trained at a conservatory program in a major city that was closely integrated with both the profession and the surrounding community, I think that there might be much to be gained from making the walls of the silo here a bit less firm (rather than expanding its footprint through a formal campus-wide laboaratory).  It is still possible to maintain a conservatory "aura" outside of a formal hierarchy of class requirements and production purposes.  Assuming sufficient institutional support to create and publicize the projects, project-based engagements led by the creative forces tend to be more rewarding.  (A Shakespeare festival that I and some others there founded on a university lawn is still playing many years later, and now tours to the entire region.)  Second, I would examine the audiences for the performances to determine how many of the students were required to be there by an intro-level class.  While the ticket revenue is surely welcome, this dependency will invariably cause artistic atrophy.  A vital artistic community rarely arises by direct mandate.  Best of luck with the statement.

Reply to at 2:58 pm