Tuesday, April 23, 2024

New UTSA Arts unit will support community arts growth and engagement

New UTSA Arts unit will support community arts growth and engagement

Sculptures from Kukuli Velarde’s CORPUS exhibition at the UTSA Southwest Campus.

OCTOBER 18, 2022 — The UTSA College of Liberal and Fine Arts (COLFA) has created a new organized unit dedicated to community arts education, public-facing performances and exhibitions, and arts-based research and partnerships to enhance the accessibility of the arts for the general public.

UTSA Arts: Exploring Creativity, Inspiring Community will complement the academic programs housed in the School of Art and School of Music.

Where the schools are dedicated to the development and implementation of curriculum for their degree programs — the bachelor of arts, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of music, master of arts, master of fine arts and master of music — UTSA Arts will distinguish itself through excellence in the arts outside of the college classroom, serving the community’s needs for better access to inclusive, high-quality arts education. 

“UTSA Arts is one piece of UTSA’s bold recommitment to arts education.”

Through UTSA Arts’ focus on community engagement, teaching and outreach opportunities with local arts organizations, students of all ages in UTSA Arts programs will grow as artists and make their own unique contributions to the vibrant arts environment in San Antonio.

COLFA Dean Glenn Martínez envisions UTSA Arts as a strong step toward a more comprehensive and inclusive environment for visual and performing arts to thrive.

UTSA Arts is one piece of UTSA’s bold recommitment to arts education. It will be a space of collaboration and co-creation that meaningfully engages with artists, performers, funding agencies, school districts, donors, art institutions and the whole of San Antonio’s aesthetically rich and historically grounded arts communities,” he said. “Over the next several years, the term ‘UTSA Arts’ will become synonymous with public exhibitions and performances, community arts education and arts patronage of the highest caliber.”

UTSA Arts seeks to bolster arts programming and community education, both of which were impacted by COVID-19. The pandemic, Martínez noted, has widened the gap between accessible arts programming and the communities that benefit from the arts.

“San Antonio’s arts ecosystem has been deeply impacted by the pandemic,” Martínez said. “To rebound from these effects, it will take an all-hands-on-deck approach that brings together multiple stakeholders from the Southwest School of Art and across the South Texas region. As a community-facing organization, UTSA Arts will drive the university’s activities in this endeavor.”

UTSA Arts will contribute to the university’s model for strategic innovation and growth by amplifying existing arts programming and nurturing new programs. It will meet these objectives by planning for strategic growth in UTSA Southwest’s robust community visual arts classes, symposia and workshops for adults, children and teens, expanding the reach of music camps and workshops by the School of Music, and supporting research efforts that demonstrate the benefits of the visual and performing arts as fundamental facets of the San Antonio community.

“We’re launching UTSA Arts with the tagline Exploring Creativity, Inspiring Community to underscore our intended purpose in highlighting the creative arts and cultural expression as focal points for our San Antonio community,” said Kimberly Andrews Espy, UTSA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “At the same time, UTSA Arts will facilitate the engagement of UTSA faculty and students in our city’s vibrant arts scene, as well as arts activities throughout San Antonio.”

UTSA Arts plans to feature the work of regional, national and international visual and performing artists and curators. As part of this effort, UTSA is hosting an exhibition for celebrated Peruvian sculptor and painter, Kukuli Velarde, through November 5 at the UTSA Southwest Campus.

UTSA will launch a national search for the executive director of UTSA Arts/COLFA associate dean for Community Engagement & the Arts in 2023 with support from executive search firm Koya Partners and Koya managing director Naree W.S. Viner. In the interim, Special Assistant to the Dean for Community Engagement and the Arts Tracy Cowden will initiate the effort.

⇒ Learn more about the School of Art.
⇒ Discover the School of Music.

“UTSA has deep connections with our community in arts engagement and learning across the lifespan, and with the creation of UTSA Arts, we are now poised to expand the scope of our work in many areas,” Cowden said. “We believe deeply in the power of the arts to positively affect the lives of all in our community, and we look forward to new opportunities to expand our community-based research efforts and further grow our vibrant outreach programs and to collaborations with our students, faculty and community members.”

UTSA Arts will begin operations this fall.

— Nick Ward

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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to news@utsa.edu. Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.



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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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