Arts Everywhere seeks to expand

arts_everywhere

Moving forward after Arts Everywhere Day, UNC has a long term goal of increasing interest in the arts. 

Emil Kang, the special assistant to the chancellor for the arts, said administrators are working to make arts a part of everyday life by continuing the momentum generated by Arts Everywhere Day.

“It’s my belief in particular — and the chancellor shares this — that we should be fostering a similar culture in the arts, so that the arts are not just for arts majors but for every kind of student,” Kang said.

In the future, Arts Everywhere will include initiatives like interdisciplinary learning with arts and non-arts subjects. Kang hopes an artistic equivalent to LFIT will become a general education requirement.

Kang said the goal of Arts Everywhere is to increase the artistic engagement of non-arts students, rather than to expand the arts departments or increase the number of arts majors. He thinks increasing the appreciation of arts across campus will lead to more resources for the arts departments.

Some people have concerns about the plans for Arts Everywhere.

Art history professor Cary Levine said he supports initiatives like Arts Everywhere, but he hopes the artistic engagement of non-arts students won’t be fulfilled at the expense of the arts departments.

“I kind of agree in a theoretical sense that when you do exciting things, more resources will come,” Levine said. “But it would be a terrible irony if the University was investing in public art that is on display and gets a lot of publicity, and yet drains the funds out of the arts department.”

Elin O’Hara Slavick, a studio arts professor, questioned why there was money for initiatives like these, rather than money for departmental needs.

“There’s obviously money for the University to make makerspaces and that’s great, but there’s never any money for the art department,” Slavick said.

Slavick said the art department is short on faculty, which limits the number of classes offered. Facilities such as the art lab are in poor condition and some classrooms are unequipped — Slavick’s doesn’t have a school-provided digital projector.

Art department chairperson Jim Hirschfield said he has seen a recent increase in administrative support for the arts through interdisciplinary integration.

Clara Yang, a music professor, said Arts Everywhere Day was a way to display the artistic talent of students. She said the administration and Carolina Performing Arts always try to involve the department’s students in musical opportunities at the school.

She said the music department would always welcome more funding, but she knows there are budget challenges.

“It’s a national or even international phenomenon — music and art don’t usually get as funded as much as many other things,” Yang said.

Senior Katherine Campbell, a Kenan Music Scholar and harp player, said Arts Everywhere Days can provide musical exposure for non-arts students and spark the interest of potential incoming music students.

Campbell said she has seen an increase in support for the music department — it’s been able to expand to include a bluegrass program, beat-making laboratory and an improved jazz space.

Junior Catherine Baird, a dramatic arts and public health major, said she hopes the Arts Everywhere initiative is a step toward making the arts as valued as STEM at UNC.

“We’re not the ones curing cancer, but we’re the ones that might help a mother with a child with cancer cope in some way, whether it’s through a play and a character that really resonates or through music that’s soothing,” Baird said.

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