Welcome Back! We are all getting ready for a new academic year filled to the brim with exciting courses, exhibitions, performances, and a range of public events that feature UC Berkeley’s rich and bracing creative culture. After reviewing our first start-up year of the Arts+Design Initiative, it is a thrill to anticipate a new one. At ARC | A+D, we have been working hard this summer on all fronts—on academics, on arts access, infrastructural improvements, local engagement, and on collaborative research and public programming.
- ARTS ACCESS: As we work toward the hope of a new digital arts pass to subsidize student engagement with the arts, we are thrilled to partner with the firm Ziploop (founded by alum Peter Jackson) and the Cal Smart Wallet on an initial pilot this fall.
- ACADEMICS: Amongst the many new academic collaborations on our horizon, look out for our new Undergraduate Certificate in Design Innovation, collaboratively created with faculty representatives from Engineering, Environmental Design, Haas, and Arts & Humanities. With the help of alumna, Kimberly Brooks, we are also putting the final touches on a new book that features the capstone creative achievements of undergraduates of every arts and design department on campus.
- RESEARCH/PUBLIC PROGRAMS: The coming year is already filling with new research and public programming projects, including co-curated events with the Art and Technology Colloquium and another series on the Art of Cultural Criticism with the Townsend Center. September includes a Faculty Forum on new directions in Arts and Design Research, co-hosted by Vice Chancellor for Research, Paul Alivisatos, one that explores Berkeley’s distinctive capacities to join creativity, diversity, technology, and social impact. The same month also includes a symposium on opera and Chinese culture, along with discounted opportunity to celebrate Cal alum Stan Lai’s premiere of The Dream of the Red Chamber at SF Opera.
- LOCAL ENGAGEMENT: Berkeley’s reach to our local community is wide, deep, and reciprocal. We received two big boosts this summer when the city of Berkeley passed its “Percent for Art” program, and when the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission bestowed a grant to C.R.E.A.T.E., a thriving example of our campus’s arts-based public service programs.
- INFRASTUCTURE: This summer brought new digs—sort of; we moved the A+D administration into the second floor offices of the Dwinelle Annex. Meanwhile, Professor and architect Nicholas de Monchaux created a resonant installation and renovation for A+D, including a display cabinet of Cal creativity and spaces that thematize “A+D Under Construction”—in OSHA blue and gold. ARC’s offices remain in their previous location, and de Monchaux’s team is giving its seminar room a new treatment. Come visit us.
- COMMUNICATIONS: Even as the Annex functions as the off-line portal for the A+D Initiative, we are working steadily with the firm Project6 and alumna Gina Pell on an offline portal—a new A+D website that gathers all departments, presenters, clubs, and centers in the arts and design at Berkeley. We are looking at a January launch, with opportunities to test and engage throughout the fall.
Let’s just say it’s been a busy summer. And the staff of both the Arts Research Center and the Arts+Design Initiative have been valiantly working—and also expanding. After A+D’s start-up year, ARC Associate Director Lauren Pearson is returning to her primary role as ARC Associate Director, focusing on collaborative research for faculty, grads, and undergrads as well as student arts access with support form the Arts& Humanities Division.
Susan Miller, A+D’s Director of Organizational Strategy, has taken over the project management of our new website, and she and Amber Fogarty have guided the Annex move and established the A+D office, with a wonderful team of interns and work study students.
After a year of astounding interim development support, Kasia Allen has returned to her full-time position in Principal Gifts with University Development and Alumni Relations; meanwhile, we have been able to add a full roster of exciting new A+D development staff to UDAR’s team (Ralph Scala, Jennifer Bevington, and Siobahn Bauer).
I continue to be grateful and humbled by the incredible commitment of our staff and by the rigor and cultural wealth of the Berkeley landscape. Even as we face the sobering news of our leadership transitions, our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community partners will continue to work creatively and energetically together, reminding us of the spirit that makes Berkeley truly great.
It’s going to be an amazing year!
Director, Arts Research Center
Associate Vice Chancellor for the Arts and Design