Art programs combined to form School of Arts

By Staff Writer Cody Campbell

The College of Arts and Sciences is planning a unified School of the Arts that will foster collaboration between the different departments beginning fall 2018.

The new school will combine all of the programs of the arts department, music department and theater department into one and integrate the resources of each of the different areas of study.

Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Carmen Burkhalter said this merger will stimulate cooperation between the different colleges and departments.

“What we will be better able to do is develop academic programming between colleges so that we keep the purpose of creativity, as led through the arts, at the forefront of all disciplines,” she said. “We work very closely with the College of Business all the time because they’re always focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship.”

Burkhalter said the College of Arts and Sciences does not plan to dissolve any of the existing art programs or cut funding for them. The new program will simply consolidate the different art programs into one school and allow students to better acquaint themselves with all offerings of UNA’s art programs, regardless of their major.

The new School of the Arts will make use of the Mane Room to host collaborative art related events, such as painting displays, photo galleries, films and fine art exhibitions. The Mane Room will also serve as a way to engage the local community and UNA alumni in art related affairs.

Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Ross Alexander said the Mane Room space could offer many benefits to the School of Arts.

“So the idea is to attract students who want to have an art-based educational experience, but also showcase our programming in terms of performances, exhibitions, readings and what have you in a way that is more cohesive to the community,” he said. “There are a lot of performances and exhibitions and external events (in the arts), and this is a way of packaging them together.”

Junior Sarah Yasaka said the Mane Room could be valuable to art students.

“I think it sounds like a really good opportunity,” she said. “It sounds like a good way to work with each other and be inspired by each other.”

Senior Nathan McDaniel said he thinks the transition could offer publicity to the arts.

“I think a lot of people aren’t aware of the (art programs) unless they’re in it,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is really exposed to the stuff that students are making, so I think it’s a really great idea.”

Burkhalter and Alexander plan to launch the unified School of the Arts in the coming fall semester and are looking at current UNA faculty members to fill the Executive Director position for the new program.