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  Culture Corner - Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance Blog
Guest Blog by University of Iowa President Sally Mason
posted: Tuesday, January 24, 2012  Post Comment

Art, heritage, culture, and education—we value those important qualities of life highly here in the Corridor. Our community members’ dedication to those values makes the Corridor a truly remarkable, vibrant place to live and work.

The arts empower us. They fuel human progress. They unite us in wonder, awe, and appreciation. The arts and culture have been central to the legacy and character of the UI for many, many decades. Our heritage includes faculty and students who are now household names, such as Grant Wood, Tennessee Williams, Simon Estes, and Marilynne Robinson. At the same time, we are deeply grounded in our community and region, providing our students and the general public with inspiration and learning through our world-class programs.

As we embark on the very exciting design phase of our renewed arts campus, we know we must provide the best and most visionary facilities to bring our storied arts program into the 21st century. But even as we work on building their new physical homes, our music, theater, dance, visual arts, and Hancher Auditorium programs continue their excellence in teaching, research, and creative endeavor right now, both on campus and in other venues throughout the Corridor.

Collaboration among our Corridor and statewide partners is essential to our vision of bringing the arts to a wide audience. A great example of this kind of partnership was the “Professor Kubínek Meets the Orchestra” program a little over a year ago, a collaborative project of Hancher Auditorium, artist Tomás Kubínek, and Orchestra Iowa, with performances in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and other Iowa communities.

A more recent significant community-university collaboration was Telling: Iowa City, a unique theatrical production that brought Iowa veterans to the stage to share their service experiences from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Groups involved with this innovative project were Working Group Theatre (founded by three UI theatre alumni), the UI Veterans Association, the UI Department of Theatre Arts, numerous other UI departments and offices, Iowa City’s Riverside Theatre, the national Telling Project, Humanities Iowa, the American Legion of Iowa Foundation, and Rockwell Collins.

The university’s major mission is the discovery, teaching, and public sharing of new knowledge. Creativity and the arts are essential to our mission as much as cures for cancer, explorations of outer space, understandings of the Constitution, and teaching the next generation of doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, and more. That is why Iowa is known as the first university to award academic credit for creative work. That is why we are rebuilding our arts campus that will define creativity in the university—and in the community—for generations to come. And that is why we will continue to collaborate with the many stellar arts and culture organizations throughout this wonderful region that we call home.

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