ANN ARBORâ€”A comprehensive presidential arts initiative designed to â€œunleash imagination and creativityâ€� at the University of Michigan was announced today by President Mark Schlissel.
A working group of arts leaders on campus will collaborate with all parts of the university in creating the initiative. According to Schlissel, a two-year startup phase will produce a roadmap through creative and inclusive engagement with the community, especially with students.
â€œOur strengths and opportunities are clearâ€”U-M is a leader in arts research, creation, education and presentation,â€� Schlissel said. â€œBut there is also a deep desire to help this component of our excellence permeate further across all of U-M.
â€œAs this initiative matures in the years ahead, we will have the opportunity to create new dimensions of U-Mâ€™s excellence through the artsâ€”ones that are perhaps unknown to us today.â€�
Underscoring the importance of the artsâ€”including their power to foster creativity, create fuller and smarter humans, and advance humanityâ€”Schlissel also emphasized the transdisciplinary collaborations and individuals who are creating valuable intersections between the arts and other parts of the universityâ€™s academic portfolio.
He cited work ranging from U-M Stamps School of Art & Design associate professor Anne Mondroâ€™s creation of arts programs for community members living with dementia to several faculty collaborating to secure CDC and state support to present â€œPainless,â€� a musical addressing the opioid crisis, at schools around Michigan.
First steps in shaping the initiative will include gathering ideas through broad community engagement and launching a series of pilot and demonstration projects.
â€œThis will be a dynamic period of experimenting with new projects,â€� Schlissel said. â€œHow can we incorporate art and art making into the Michigan experiences of all our students? How can we bring the worldâ€™s most compelling artists to campus for deep engagement and collaboration with us?
â€œHow can the arts help to open new ways of understanding and solving problems in different disciplines? And yes, how can the arts bring us together around profound questions like â€˜what is love?’â€�
The working group for the new arts initiative includes leaders from across the university: