UH Decides to Consolidate Its Arts Treasures, Forms a New College

Have you heard the news? They've made a college just for us!
Have you heard the news? They've made a college just for us!
Photos courtesy of the University of Houston

Deciding to pull together several of the school's arts programs, the University of Houston Board of Regents has decided to create the new UH College of the Arts — hoping in the process that the school will develop a reputation on par with New York University's Tisch School of the Arts or the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles. 

The Moores School of Music, School of Art, School of Theatre & Dance, Blaffer Art Museum, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Center for Arts Leadership and the Graduate Program for Arts Management will all move out of UH’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and into the new college on September 1, 2016.

Tony Smith's striking on-campus art.
Tony Smith's striking on-campus art.

According to Dr. Andrew Davis, planning dean for the new college and  director of the Moores School of Music, UH, task forces and feasibility committees have been working through the idea for more than two and a half years.

“We think with the visibility and the coherent agenda and strategy that comes as a result of us having a consolidated college, that gives us the leverage to manage the resources in the best way to attract and recruit the best students in a very competitive environment.  Recruiting students of the arts is just like recruiting athletes. It's just as competitive. We think this will give us the leverage and the visibility and the quality national-level programming that we need to continue to attract the best students in the country and to really compete with the cream of the crop, the top handful.

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“This has been a great, great place in the arts for so long,” Davis says. “Houston has always been a place that's attracted creative people and attracted ingenuity and attracted entrepreneurs, and I don't think the arts are any different. "

Asked why this hasn't happened before with so many accolades going to UH arts students in so many areas, Davis says, “The easiest answer is because there hasn't been a president nor a provost that saw a need for it, and now there is."The president [UH president Renu Khator]and the provost [Paula Myrick Short] are totally on board with it."

One focus, Davis says, will be to determine “what are the emerging trends in the way we educate artists and art entrepreneaurs?” so that students have a better chance to be employed upon leaving the program. 

Here in Manon, Moores Opera Center students have won national awards.
Here in Manon, Moores Opera Center students have won national awards.

By combining the disciplines into one college, UH hopes this will foster collaboration among all artistic types. And Davis sees a real advantage in a college for artists run by artists. 

“This is essential in growing programs that will meet the needs of tomorrow’s creative minds,” he says. "We considered some other approaches, but we decided that this was probably the strongest way to  guarantee or ensure the most success over time."

Exhibits at the Blaffer have long attracted visitors across the city and beyond.
Exhibits at the Blaffer have long attracted visitors across the city and beyond.

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