The idea for Arts Everywhere came from students, said Emil Kang, executive director for the arts at UNC.
The event will include several exhibitions, including 10 pianos UNC students and staff transformed into works of art, which have been located around campus since Wednesday.
The goal of Arts Everywhere Day is to highlight the talent and creativity of the campus, said Rachel Ash, associate director of Arts Everywhere.
“We want to animate the entire campus with live art experiences and events so that from North Campus on Franklin Street all the way to South Campus towards the Dean Dome, people are encountering the arts as part of their daily lives.”
Richard McLaughlin, math department chairperson, said they are hoping to present math and science in an artistic way.
“It’s a neat opportunity to display the math and the physics with a visual thing that we’re hoping students will enjoy and appreciate,” McLaughlin said.
“The importance of art in science is really huge. First of all, there’s a lot of beautiful stuff in science. If we can have a way to demonstrate our science artistically, that resonates with a lot broader range of audience. If we can learn how to render our things artistically from the art community, it’s a win-win. The whole thing with having all this exciting art on campus is really going to be enriching for a lot of people.”
Francesca Bernardi, a Ph.D. student in the mathematics department helping run the pendulum, said art can draw people into STEM.
“I think it makes science much more personable and relatable than it otherwise would be to people who are maybe not incredibly interested about the mathematical background of why the pendulum does this. But looking at it makes them more curious; they want to know more.”
Taylor Brunson, a junior art history major, said she thinks the art department is fabulous but struggles to achieve the same level of influence and reach as STEM departments.
“Being on a STEM-focused campus, I think the arts department faces a lot of hardships. I think there’s an overwhelming belief that if you work or study in the arts department, that you are sort of taking it easy and not having to work as hard as other people,” she said.
“I’ve noticed especially this year, there’s been an intense focus on a lot of arts and humanities programs and departments because apparently there’s this belief that there’s a lot of excess leniency, and people are being allowed to get away with not working as hard as other STEM and business-based departments would have to. I think despite those attitudes and in the face of trying to combat those attitudes, they do the best they can.”
Louise Toppin, Department of Music chairperson, said she admires the efforts Folt has put into highlighting the arts.
“Chancellor Folt came in and shined a light on the importance of the arts, not just as entertainment, but as a serious discipline that is helpful to all our students, understanding that a well-trained artist is also a creative thinker in business or medicine, as well as many other fields,” Toppin said. “We’ve always known it, but she’s helped us shine a light on what makes a UNC student unique and highly marketable.”
Toppin said arts initiatives at UNC in general have done a lot for the music department in recent years, with the Kenan Music Scholars program and the recent Hill Hall renovation.
“We are thrilled with the renovation because it is helping our students and faculty, and audience actually, have the world-class experience that they should have in a performing hall,” Toppin said. “But there are things such as our practice rooms that need to receive a renovation, and we’re working on that as we speak. I would love to see that last piece of the building expanded and renovated ... There’s a great need for renovations all over this public institution, so, we’ll wait our turn.”
Brunson said she would love to see arts at UNC supported as strongly as other departments and campus happenings.
McLaughlin said the math department is excited to participate in Arts Everywhere Day.
“Funding for the arts is being threatened right now, and that’s a scary thing. Events like the thing tomorrow will help to advertise how wonderful art is,” he said. “If we can be a part of that through STEM, then we’re just delighted.”
Katie Ziglar, who recently became the Ackland Art Museum’s director, said she is excited to have started her work at such a pivotal time.
“I’m very happy to be coming to Carolina at a time when there’s more emphasis being placed on the arts. The development of the program of Arts Everywhere and this first Arts Everywhere Day is all just — we’re moving in exactly the right direction. It’s really a pleasure to take part in it and be able to contribute to it ... I hope it becomes a campus annual tradition,” Ziglar said.