Provost’s Blog

Written by Whitten

Get ready for Spotlight 2014!

Oct 31, 2014

In addition to the more than 60 events sponsored by the UGA Arts Council during the 2014 festival, nearly two dozen Student Spotlight events have been organized and produced by students, including a sax flash mob.

One of the many things that make fall such an exciting time at the University of Georgia is the annual Spotlight on the Arts festival. Now in its third year, the festival highlights the exceptional arts programming at UGA and runs from Nov. 6 through 14.

There are far too many events (60 and counting) for me to cover in this brief blog post, but I would like to take this opportunity to emphasize the importance of the arts at the University. The arts encourage creative, innovative thinking while rewarding rigor and excellence; they bring people from diverse cultures together and encourage individuals to place their experiences in a historical and global context. They inspire us to achieve our full potential and enrich individuals and society as a whole in ways that are invaluable as well as quantifiable.

Audiences who attend arts and cultural events in the Athens area alone contribute $6.2 million annually to the local economy through hotels, restaurants, retail stores and other businesses. Spotlight on the Arts and the world-class artists who will be participating—including the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and Tony Award-winning playwright Alfred Uhry—are yet another reason for people from across the state and region to visit the Classic City.

Statewide, the creative industries employ nearly 200,000 people, many of whom are alumni of our arts programs. Our theatre and film studies graduates—to take just one example—are contributing to Georgia’s booming film industry, which generated a statewide economic impact of $5.1 billion last year. Other arts alumni have started their own companies. Lamar Dodd School of Arts graduates Amanda Burk and Katherine McGuire, for example, founded a fine art printmaking studio known as Double Dutch Press.

This is an exciting time for the arts, both at the University of Georgia and across the state. Against this backdrop, the members of the UGA Arts Council are collaborating to foster an awareness and appreciation of the arts and an environment conducive to artistic innovation. The council approved a strategic plan over the summer that sets out several goals, including enhancing collaboration among campus units to integrate the arts into the fabric of the university. Membership in the Arts Council has increased, as well, with the addition of the University’s Creative Writing Program.

Since its founding in 2011, the UGA Arts Council has grown in size and ambition. Not surprisingly, this year’s Spotlight on the Arts festival promises to be the best one yet.

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