Stanford University: Sustainability

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Theme year 2010-11

Students in Reuben Margolins workshop check out his finished kinetic sculpture, The Soda Fountain. Photo courtesty of the Dept. of Art & Art History

Students in Reuben Margolin's workshop check out his finished kinetic sculpture, "The Soda Fountain." Photo courtesty of the Dept. of Art & Art History

SiCa has launched the theme “Memory” for academic year 2010-11, and Lively Arts has again embraced the theme by making its season theme “Memory Forward.” SiCa has also awarded some of its grants to faculty/departments that incorporated the “Memory” theme into their funding proposals for projects next year. Specific groups who have been awarded 2010-11 grants focused on “Memory” include: CCRMA, the Psychology Department’s Center for Longevity, the Department of Art and Art History, the Drama Department, the Dance Division, and the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures. SiCa is also planning on building a cohort of those grant recipients to more fully integrate them with each other and with the theme. In addition, SOCA has reported that they will once again embrace SiCa’s theme for the year.

Along with the overall theme of “Memory,” SLA is planning another central, year-long artist residency, with Seattle-based inventor/sculptor/musician (and MacArthur fellow) Trimpin. To date, the A+I partners that are continuing their close partnership in 2010-11 are CCRMA, the Art Department’s Sculpture Program, and the Aurora Forum. CCRMA and the Art Department are planning courses designed around Trimpin as a guest instructor. Other partners that have expressed interest in collaborating include non-arts departments such as Jewish Studies, History, the freshman IHUM program, and Continuing Studies.

Visibility, Networks, Relationships

The learnings and relationships from the A+I project have already helped remove some barriers to interdisciplinary exchange on campus for 2010-11. In addition, there is already more awareness of and campus commitment to the “Memory” theme than there was with A+I at the pre-planning phase. Lessons learned about artist selection, partnership-building, and communication networks created during the A+I pilot year have created early and robust participation for the campus’ second year of themed arts programming.

SiCa and Lively Arts will continue to collaborate as a programming entity and collective resource for campus arts-makers. The SiCa and SLA collaboration created a structural shift in how the arts are run on campus that will live beyond the A+I project. SiCa and SLA created and sustained a true cross-organizational collaboration, instigated and implemented the theme concept and programmed and managed a complex series of activities that enriched campus life, bringing dozens of artists and their work in close contact with students, faculty and the broader community.

The successes of Art + Invention are being built upon and expanded in the coming year. Even without another full Creative Campus grant, the campus is poised to embark on another year of themed programming with an artist who has great resonance across campus, this time bringing more partners and departments into the fold. While we will have to scale back some of the more costly aspects of the Douglas-Morrison residency (extended campus visits by an entire ensemble, print collateral, advertising, evaluation consultant), the communications networks and visibility developed last year will more than compensate for some of this overall decrease in project funding. We are increasing our effectiveness at using online and digital technologies to communicate with the campus, and plan to continue to hold focus groups with campus constituents to get feedback on our programs and communications strategy. After introducing the Student Works Festival as a key event of the A+I project, SLA and SiCa will co-produce the Festival for a second year, highlighting student projects tied to the “Memory” theme, and moving toward the Festival’s establishment as an annual, culminating event celebrating student creativity.

For SiCa and SLA, the pilot theme year was critical in providing access points for potential partners to engage with their organizations, and with campus arts programming in general. The theme, intentionally broad in scope, allowed faculty members, departments, campus organizations, and students a focused way to imagine how they might want to collaborate with SLA/SiCa, with each other, and/or with one or more campus entities with which they had never interacted. The theme was an opportunity and an invitation, and for SLA and SiCa, its success was most important as a mechanism for transforming the role of the arts on campus through partnerships, collaboration, greater access to both organizations, and providing a structure and means for potential collaborators to create new programs.

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