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Chancellor Folt creates new position for the arts

Emil Kang, Carolina’s first Executive Director of the Arts, poses in front of Memorial Hall. Kang has pioneered the univeristy’s recent artistic expansion.

Emil Kang, Carolina’s first Executive Director of the Arts, poses in front of Memorial Hall. Kang has pioneered the univeristy’s recent artistic expansion.

Current Executive Director of the Arts Emil Kang has been chosen as the Special Assistant to the Chancellor for the Arts. The position was created specifically for Kang after a year of conversing with Folt and a working group about how she wants to fulfill vision for the arts at UNC.

“It’s certainly an honor,” Kang said. “I’m thrilled that she believes in me to give me the opportunity to help enable her vision.”

Rachel Ash, Carolina Performing Arts’ director of annual giving, said Folt’s commitment to the arts in creating this position will benefit not only CPA, but all of UNC’s arts communities.

“We’re excited that the chancellor has identified the arts as one of her priorities, and I think she agreed with the working group that this is a great opportunity for Carolina to be a leader in this across campus arts work,” Ash said. “We’re eager to be working more collaboratively with other arts groups, faculty and students on campus so we see this as a big opportunity for all of us.”

Carolina Performing Arts Director of Programming Amy Russell said she believes Kang is the best person on campus to fulfill this role.

“Artistically speaking, he’s really fantastic at picking up a blank slate or blank page and using existing relationships and fostering new relationships to create something powerful,” Russell said.

Along with working at UNC for 12 years, Kang has also been serving a six-year term on the National Council of the Arts since 2012. He was nominated for the council by Barack Obama, and is the first person in North Carolina to ever serve on the board.

Kang said his experience, along with his dedication toward the university, is what will motivate him in his new role on campus.

“I have committed myself to a career in the arts,” he said. “A combination of my past experience with, more importantly, my love of this place is what I think suits me perfectly for this position.”

His duties as special assistant will include launching initiatives and programs, creating installations and performances and convening different UNC arts constituencies together under the Chancellor’s name. Increasing the visibility of on-campus arts activities is something he said is a major priority.

“It’s all the things that might not be obvious to everyone in terms of the arts, but really is what we need here at Carolina to make sure art is everywhere all over our campus,” he said. “Whether it’s a drama major, a music major, a dance group or a student theatre group, it’s really about the opportunity to give them a chance to shine.”

Kang said his biggest goal while serving as special assistant is to make UNC a leading university in the arts by having everyone on campus participate.

“I’m really very interested in making the arts an essential part of the Carolina experience,” he said.

“It’s really about how we can get our entire student body — all 30,000 students, all our faculty, staff and community — to engage in the arts, to learn about the arts, to live the arts.”


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