Student Body President Hogan Medlin didn’t have much time to present the findings of his Arts Innovation Steering Committee to the members of the Board of Trustees’ university affairs committee Wednesday afternoon.
But he impressed the group with his proposals, even as he glossed over the extent of the participation of his committee’s members in crafting the action plan.
The plan, which Medlin called his legacy, will be presented to the full Board of Trustees in today’s general meeting.
“This is quite a legacy,” said trustee Roger Perry. “I’m impressed by the work of this committee.”
The committee, whose work Medlin has billed as his lasting commitment to the development of the arts at the University, assembled an all-star list of campus and community artistic figures in four meetings this academic year.
“We wanted to move the arts in a visionary direction similar to the Academic Plan,” Medlin said, comparing his arts plan to the University’s pending academic road map, also set to be approved in Thursday’s general meeting.
“There’s nothing more powerful than art,” Medlin said.
Medlin touted the “amazing” membership list of his committee, though many of them have been regularly absent from meetings.
The committee’s members included Emil Kang, UNC’s executive director for the arts; Patti Thorp, wife of Chancellor Holden Thorp; McKay Coble, chair of the faculty and the department of dramatic art and James Moeser, UNC’s most recent former chancellor.
Initial membership lists also included several trustees. But trustees never attended a meeting, and Kang, Moeser, Coble and other big names rarely attended.
“Trying to get important people to meet all at once was hard, I admit,” Medlin said in an interview. “People sent proxies.”
The resulting plan is largely written in Medlin’s voice. Many of the ideas and plans within were presented in the committee’s first meeting last October, with limited additional insight from committee members.
“There’s definitely a lot of me in there, but it was my vision initially,” Medlin said.
The plan calls for a permanent arts council to manage and oversee a student arts endowment that would fund innovative projects, and urges the University to reconsider the ways in which student artwork is displayed in campus buildings.
It also devotes a page to the promotion of dance as an academic concentration, an initiative currently under consideration by a task force in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“Art challenges us to think in new ways,” Medlin said.
“I want our students to be well-rounded enough to see more than a solution to a problem.”
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