Spotlight on the Arts

A team of 21 public relations students from a class in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication has created a campaign proposal for the university’s newly formed arts council that will increase students’ awareness and participation in arts offerings on campus.

The UGA Arts Council was convened in October 2011 by Vice Provost Libby Morris and includes administrators from the Georgia Museum of Art, Performing Arts Center, Hugh Hodgson School of Music, Lamar Dodd School of Art, department of dance, department of theatre and film studies, UGA Press, The Georgia Review, Special Collections Libraries, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of UGA’s exceptional programs and offerings in the performing, visual and literary arts,” said Morris. “The council wants to successfully connect with students, so we were pleased when Dr. Lynne Sallot’s campaigns class took on this project.”

The campaigns class conducted focus groups with students as well as analyzed the efforts of more than 40 public research universities around the country in promoting the arts.

The project allowed the students to put the skills learned as public relations majors to use. “Through working with this real-world client, the students were able to grow professionally and academically while making a contribution to the university community,” said Sallot.

In addition to targeting students in particular, the team conducted interviews and a pilot survey with Grady faculty about their participation in arts activities on campus.

Among the proposals generated by the class was a model for a Student Arts Alliance to serve as an umbrella organization for student arts groups. 

“We now have an idea of how this could work, and we will explore this further in the fall when a student representative will begin serving on the Arts Council,” Morris said.

The students also were enthusiastic about a campus arts festival, which is planned for Nov. 3-11. The UGA Arts Council will host events and activities that include concerts, theater and dance performances, art exhibitions, poetry readings, author panels and book signings, lectures and discussions on the arts and creativity. 

Highlights of the schedule include the opening of a Jack Davis exhibition at the Georgia Museum of Art, concerts by the Atlanta Symphony and the UGA Symphony at the Performing Arts Center, a University Theatre production of Rita Dove’s play “The Darker Face of the Earth” at the Fine Arts Theatre, a dance program featuring pieces choreographed by UGA dance majors at the New Dance Theatre and an exhibition by students earning a bachelor of fine arts degree in the Lamar Dodd School of Art. The Performing Arts Center also will present two special performances: Blue Man Group on Nov. 6-7 and Bela Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio on Nov. 9. The Blue Man Group show will be jointly presented with the Classic Center and will be held at the Classic Center Theatre in downtown Athens.

“The arts are an integral part of the fabric of UGA, a powerful thread that helps us define ourselves and our community,” said Jere Morehead, UGA senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “As the place where so many artists, writers, actors and musicians first find their voice, UGA offers a richness of opportunity for members of the university community and audiences from throughout the area to participate in the arts.”