Letter from Jody Kielbasa
WELCOME TO THE INAUGURAL ISSUE OF THE U.VA. ARTS MAGAZINE!
One day last Fall, as I was walking across the lawn, I heard the low and beautiful sounds of a cello. The warm tones resonated over the bricks and filled the halls of the Pavilions. Continuing my walk, I followed the sound, expecting perhaps a recital in the Rotunda. As I turned the corner underneath the Rotunda’s steps, I found a lone student practicing in the hall.
How pleased Mr. Jefferson, who so loved playing his violin, would be to see that the arts and culture he so passionately championed were alive and well at his beloved University of Virginia. Every single day our halls, practice rooms, class rooms and yes, even our iconic landmarks, are filled with so much talent and so much passion. The creativity and artistry of our faculty and students inspires me to no end.
Later that evening, I sat in the Amphitheatre among a crowd of more than 5,000 students, faculty, alumni and community members and listened as Tina Fey launched our very first President’s Speaker Series for the Arts. As I took in the scene, I wondered how we might share the stories of what our faculty and students are creating and accomplishing in the arts here at U.Va. This biannual magazine was created just for that purpose, to celebrate the arts at U.Va. and to offer a glimpse of the scholarship, work, and talents of the people who bring them to life. In each issue, you will hear from each of our arts departments about recent or coming highlights, milestones or special events. Consider these short pieces to be vibrant snapshots of a dynamic landscape, and invitations to further explore the ways in which students, often from entirely different backgrounds or cultures, are coming together via the arts to innovate, create, collaborate, explore and discover…and grow.
Also, in each issue you will see two expanded stories that take a deeper look at a given project or initiative. This issue will highlight the wide range of programming surrounding the Berlin Wall exhibit and the upcoming 25th anniversary of the historic day when the wall came down and the world opened up. The installation, which comes to us on loan from Robert and MeiLi Hefner, provides a centerpiece for a variety of events, discussions, screenings and more that will feature some of the University’s most acclaimed thought leaders as well as special guests from the worlds of politics, history and diplomacy.
We are also highlighting “The Clinician’s Eye,” a collaboration between The Fralin Museum of Art and the U.Va. Medical School that uses visual art analysis to help medical students change and expand their powers of clinical observation. It’s a fascinating example of the power of the arts to make a lasting difference in the way we think, the way we work, and the impact we can have on others.
History tells us that the arts will play a variety of roles in the lives of our students. Some will undoubtedly follow their dreams to the biggest of stages, as Tina Fey and her fellow Saturday Night Live cast member Shasheer Zamata have done. Others, like Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding), may find their place as a bestselling author. Still others may take their talents to jazz clubs, concert halls, art galleries or Broadway stages.
However, we know at the University of Virginia that the impact of the arts is hardly limited to the artists themselves. The arts add vibrancy to all of our lives and impact people in every walk of life. You never can predict where inspiration might come from, or how it might shape a person’s future. We hope you enjoy this first issue and look forward to sharing these stories and the ones that will come in future issues!