CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University of Illinois students will have opportunities to hear musical performances, meet musicians and learn more about the arts, thanks to a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
The four-year grant will support arts initiatives on campus by the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
The grant will support Krannert Center’s presentation of classical music, the centerpiece of which is an annual residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It will also support performances of diverse artists from a variety of backgrounds and playing music from a variety of genres, in an effort to promote a greater understanding of cultural traditions.
The grant renews some of the support Krannert Center has received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in the past, said Deborah Miller, the director of development for Krannert Center, who worked on the grant proposal. A recently expired Mellon grant supported the Inside View program, which provides opportunities for students to learn more about classical music through master classes, residence hall concerts, tours, conversations about careers in the arts, and post-performance events in which students can meet the musicians. The new grant will provide continued support of Inside View.
The grant will also allow the expansion of a program aimed at involving students living in residence halls in the arts. The grant will help replicate the Ikenberry Commons and the Arts program – supported by U. of I. President Emeritus Stanley Ikenberry and his wife, Judy – that provides arts activities to students living in Ikenberry Commons. The activities include an artist residency each semester; Krannert Center tickets provided at no charge to students living in the residence hall; and Inside View events such as post-performance celebrations.
“We’re trying to get students involved with the arts in every possible way we can think of,” Miller said.
Krannert Center has identified the Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Halls as the next site at which to replicate the Ikenberry Commons and the Arts program, Miller said.
The grant will also support artists in the creation of new work, through commissions and residencies on campus. The grant proposal notes that the residencies not only benefit the artists, but they also provide Krannert Center’s staff with opportunities to increase their knowledge and expertise in the techniques used by the artists, as well as providing students with the unique experience of working alongside an artist in the development of a new work.
Other efforts that will be aided by the grant include: extending an existing academic engagement liaison position for the campus for the next four years, to help further engage students with the arts; and supporting an existing general education course in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, “Exploring Arts and Creativity.” The course is team-taught by a faculty member from the arts and one from a different discipline on campus. It takes students to see performances at Krannert Center and arts exhibitions at Krannert Art Museum, and brings in artists to talk with the students