Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities

Hello and welcome.  I am Rebecca Blank, Chancellor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and I’m delighted to welcome you to the 8th annual conference of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities.

As one of the nation’s largest research universities – and a place with a vibrant arts presence – we are really excited to have this opportunity to bring together like-minded institutions, scholars, and practitioners in the arts from all over the U.S. and around the world.

I want to thank our Division of the Arts and the diverse cross-disciplinary team they have worked with to plan this conference.

This year’s theme is “Land & Equity:  The Art & Politics of Place.” That has particular resonance for UW–Madison. Our campus was built on the ancestral home of the indigenous Ho-Chunk Nation, and we have a multi-year effort underway to educate our students, faculty, and staff – along with the broader community – about this history.  You can learn more about what we’re doing on the conference website.

UW has long emphasized an interdisciplinary and integrated approach to research, teaching, and practice in the arts. That approach guides our work across programs as diverse as our Interdisciplinary Arts Residency, the Wisconsin Science Festival, the First Wave Hip-Hop Scholars Program, and the Community Arts Collaboratory.

I’m very proud of the depth and breadth of our arts programs here at UW.  To give you a brief idea, we have:

  • 12 undergraduate majors available in 10 different areas of the arts
  • 11 undergraduate arts certificates
  • A graduate printmaking program that is ranked #1 in the nation
  • And a Glass and Neon Lab that is one of very few at public universities in the U.S.

Our Chazen Museum of Art has the largest collection in the Big 10 and puts on wonderful outreach programs … and last fall we celebrated the opening of our new, state-of-the-art Hamel Music Performance Center.

I wish that we could share with you, in person, the extraordinary energy and creativity of our education and research in the arts – our arts outreach programs are inspired by our mission to share university knowledge and innovation far and wide (we call that the Wisconsin Idea).

I want to close by thanking you for your dedication to the arts. COVID has made our lives more difficult in many ways – and that’s especially true for those in the arts, whose teaching, research, and creative practice often require human interaction.

When we can all travel again more freely, I hope you’ll pay us a visit here in Madison and see all the exciting things happening on this campus. Until then, thank you for joining us and best wishes for a productive conference.