Published February 13, 2019
The College of Arts and Sciences introduced its new Arts Collaboratory initiative, and the initiative’s inaugural director, Bronwyn Keenan, at a meet-and-greet reception last Thursday in the Center for the Arts’ atrium.
“When I first arrived here (in 2016), there were lots of comments about how people across the arts (in the College of Arts and Sciences) wanted to get to know each other and work together in exciting ways,” CAS Dean Robin G. Schulze told faculty, staff and students attending the reception. “They wanted to build opportunities for students and faculty to build, experiment and perform.”
Those early discussions led to Arts Collaboratory, which is designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between arts departments and programs, and the rest of the college and university, as well as encourage experimentation, promote community and regional connections, and give arts students the tools and training they need to thrive in a complex, challenging industry. As part of the college's Boldly Buffalo campaign priorities, investments will be made in specialized equipment and learning spaces dedicated to teaching, investigation, skill-building and performing, Schulze said.
Keenan, who comes to UB after serving as head of special events for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, will spearhead the new effort. She previously was director of special events at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and also managed a namesake gallery for emerging artists from 1995-2006.
With more than 25 years of experience in the arts, Keenan said she’s excited to bridge UB’s arts programs with the rest of the college and to capitalize on working with Buffalo’s thriving creative community. She also noted that UB’s current resources will play a strong role in helping the initiative’s success, citing as an example the university’s extensive James Joyce collection.
“My goal is to unify across disciplines in the College of Arts and Sciences,” Keenan said. “The Buffalo-Niagara region is among the top creative hubs in the country and so my role and the mission for the Arts Collaboratory will be to make Buffalo’s creative talent visible to the world; it is time to make that happen.”
Schulze welcomed Provost Charles F. Zukoski to speak to the new initiative’s merits, and also announced that the Office of the Provost will provide $50,000 in financial support for the initiative.
“We can’t have a strong university without strong arts,” Zukoski said. “Creative activities are what defines us as humans. They inspire us, motivate us, make us think of new ideas and express our emotions. To have an institution that educates the next generation to help us as humans be creative is important for the university and the College of Arts and Sciences.
“This also gives us the chance to connect with the community with all of these activities that Bronwyn is working on,” he said. “The connection between UB and the community is greatly enhanced (with the Arts Collaboratory). It’s that connection to educate, of scholarship, and to engage with the public that I think this is all about.”
I hope this is an indication that UB is recognizing STEAM and moving beyond STEM.