Perspective Online

School of the Arts Continues Growth

by Dr. Chad Davidson

I am thrilled and grateful to assume the directorship of the School of the Arts, particularly at such a dynamic time in our university’s history. Building on the strong work of former director Tommy Cox, I plan to continue forging ties with our local community, building bridges to the thriving arts centers of the metro Atlanta area, and attracting talented students to our ever-expanding programs in the arts. As Carrollton continues to grow, I see our university as not just a center for artistic excellence but also as a crossroads for culture and community, a place for anyone to come and participate in the creation and appreciation of art.

Dr. Chad DavidsonThis is an especially exciting time for the arts nationally, as well, with the recent and robust push by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to promote synthesis between the arts and humanities on one hand and so-called STEM programs on the other. Educators and legislators across the nation have realized the necessity of a thriving arts culture, the need for creativity in all disciplines and intellectual pursuits, and (perhaps most poignantly) the deeply human drive toward, and appreciation of, beauty. With the recent Humanities Symposium sponsored by UWG’s College of Arts and Humanities (and featuring an inspirational keynote speech by Smithsonian Institution Secretary Wayne Clough in the Townsend Center), our university is contributing in no small way to this most important national dialogue.

But we are not just dialoguing. Our programs in the arts (in the most inclusive sense of that word) create lasting contributions to the local community, the larger metro area, and indeed the nation as a whole. Just visit any of our theatre productions, attend a concert by our talented music students, hang out at an iron-pour (one of the most riveting events I have witnessed on campus), check out our growing film production and theory offerings, or just pick up a copy of our award-winning arts and literary magazine Eclectic. Our students and faculty are in the business of manufacturing culture, and I want to help broaden and extend those processes.

I see this position as inherently multifaceted, simultaneously committed to fostering a shared identity of the arts across campus, dedicated to recruiting impressive students to our creative programs, and devoted to promoting within our community the strong artistic work done by our School. On one hand, I feel as if I possess the necessary skills for the job. I have overseen with my colleagues in English the formation of a lively creative-writing program that attracts nationally recognized authors to campus, boasts over a hundred students, and places them in competitive graduate writing programs across the nation and abroad. On the other hand, I feel humbled in the face of so varied and talented a group of artists and makers. In this way, I could never be a director of these individuals and programs so much as a director of their energies, a facilitator who attempts to link those who create with those who appreciate creativity. I am confident that both of those necessary groups of people will grow in the coming years.

Dr. Chad Davidson is the director of the UWG School of the Arts.

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