The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday February 4th

Mellon Foundation grant for CPA

Less than two months after naming Emil Kang as special assistant to the chancellor for the arts, CPA has received a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

CPA will use this grant to reward four artists in the DisTil Fellowship program, which stands for “Discovery Through Interactive Learning.” The programs runs two to three years for each recipient with the intention of artists and faculty working together to grow in their own fields as well as outside their comfort zones.

CPA’s director of annual giving Rachel Ash said the program aligns with Chancellor Folt’s vision to further incorporate the arts into academic life at UNC.

We see the whole grant as the natural growth of our work that we have been doing over the last three or four years in particular to connect the arts to the academic mission at the University,” Ash said.

The four recipients of the grant will work with faculty, departments, undergraduate and graduate students.

Postdoctoral Fellow Aaron Shackelford said he looks forward to seeing how this program will combine the performing arts with academics.

“This is really about giving artists time to ask questions, to work on ideas and have conversations with faculty and also to share their skills and insights that they have as artists with other faculty and students,” he said.

Shackelford also hopes the performing arts will foster new conversations throughout campus about current events.

“Part of the excitement is not knowing where these conversations and interactions will go,” he said. “That’s why you’re at a university — to have projects where you do not know what the end result will be.”

This is the fourth grant CPA has received since 2011.

Shackelford said CPA has used past grants to expand arts education at UNC, starting with Arts@TheCore in 2012.

“Over the last couple years, I think we have demonstrated a real ability to foster relationships with artists and to identify artists who not just create artistically important pieces, but who have the real curiosity and interest to keep expanding boundaries and ideas,” he said.

CPA Director of Programming Amy Russell said she has seen great benefits of students and faculty working together through these programs.

“There is such a wealth of creativity here, and I think CPA has helped to capitalize on that in a global sense, bringing artists from all over the world to Carolina to experience that and realize what an amazing place it is,” she said.

“I think the intersection of the global artistic community with the artistic community here has been a really powerful one.”


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