Dear University community,
Today, we officially launch Arts for All, a campus-wide initiative that seeks to humanize the world’s grand challenges and integrate the arts more fully into conversation with the sciences and technology, enriching all.
There is transformational power at the intersection of the arts and the sciences. Solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges—structural racism, gender inequality, climate change, global health disparities, and others—need the arts and humanities to help us understand the historical, cultural, linguistic and artistic expressions that shape our world and to discover people-centered solutions.
Arts for All will create new curriculum, including the new undergraduate program in Immersive Media and Design co-developed by the Department of Art and the Department of Computer Science that debuted this semester, and the Maya Brin Institute for New Performance will prepare students for emerging fields in webcasts and virtual reality performance. These exciting new initiatives will inspire artistic and technological makers to investigate and create new connections that activate social change.
In the spirit of bringing art and culture to a wider audience, an expanded NextNOW Fest, presented by The Clarice, launches today. Throughout the week, NextNOW Fest events will occur in venues across campus as well as in College Park. Under the theme of “Where Creativity and Community Converge,” dozens of free events will celebrate imagination and creative expression.
I would like to invite every member of our campus community to be a full participant in this expanded arts programming. At the heart of the Arts for All initiative lies a deep commitment to providing interdisciplinary opportunities to make connections in and out of the classroom that empower all of us to address complex problems in new and meaningful ways.
Some highlights from NextNOW Fest 2021 and future Arts for All programming include:
- Immersive Media Design Showcase (September 16-17; Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering): Students in the new Immersive Media Design major showcase projects that push the boundaries of reality and break barriers in the arts.
- NextNOW Fest at The Hall CP (September 19, The Hall CP): A day-long celebration of the arts featuring workshops, interactive installations and live performance from campus and community artists and arts organizations.
- American Landscapes (September 9 - November 19; David C. Driskell Center): A new exhibition that highlights overlooked Black artists in American artistic tradition. In conjunction with this exhibition, a symposium will be presented on October 28, with opportunities to attend in person and virtually.
- Arts and Humanities Dean’s Lecture Featuring Vijay Gupta (October 21): The College of Arts and Humanities presents violin prodigy and social justice advocate Vijay Gupta, who in 2007 became the youngest violinist ever to join the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has emerged as a leading voice for the role of music to heal, inspire, provoke change and foster social connection.
- Hookman (November 13-21): Lauren Yee's Hookman tells the story of Lexi, a college freshman who is haunted by the sudden death of her childhood best friend—all while navigating the pressures of being a young woman entering adulthood. Directed by Nathaniel P. Claridad ’04, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies' production brings the horror film genre to the stage, inviting audiences to explore themes of grief, trauma and guilt in an up close and personal way. This is the inaugural production of the Maya Brin Institute for New Performance.
Our world needs artists whose work helps us address grand challenges and explore the complexities of the human experience. Together, let’s celebrate the power of creativity -- music, theater, dance, visual arts, design, creative writing -- to improve the lives of all humankind.
Darryll J. Pines
President, University of Maryland