Gratitude, teamwork, opportunity
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University of Iowa President Sally Mason’s message was clear. “I can say thank you over and over again to each and every one of you,” she said, “and it wouldn’t be enough.”
Mason addressed government leaders, faculty, staff, students, and community members at a June 14 event marking the start of construction on new homes for the UI School of Art and Art History, School of Music, and Hancher. She and other speakers emphasized gratitude, teamwork, and opportunity—critical factors in the university’s recovery from the campus flood of 2008.
Bruce Rastetter, president of the Iowa Board of Regents, described how revitalizing the arts campus will serve all the missions of Iowa’s public universities and special schools—everything from providing an excellent education, to enriching life for Iowans, to promoting economic development.
State Senator Bob Dvorsky and state Representative Vicki Lensing also spoke. Lensing recounted growing up near the arts campus as the original Hancher Auditorium, Voxman Music Building, and Museum of Art were under construction.
“Losing Hancher-Voxman-Clapp and the Museum of Art was very personal,” she said, speaking for people across campus and throughout the community.
Highlights from the Arts and Minds program, June 14. Video by Meghan Horihan.
UI Foundation President and CEO Lynette Marshall laid out plans for a $30 million arts campaign, part of the foundation’s $1.7 billion comprehensive fund-raising campaign dubbed “For Iowa. Forever More.”
“These are exceptional times for the University of Iowa,” she said, “and they call for exceptional friends.”
Representatives from the affected arts programs spoke about developing and working from temporary facilities over the past five years, and about the promise of new facilities. Steve McGuire, professor of 3-D design and coordinator of the art school’s studio division, noted the synergy that develops when artists work alongside students and faculty in other fields.
“I imagine our school being more closely intertwined with the discipline and practice of others,” he said, describing art students—many of them already double majors—who see problems not just as artists, but also engineers or scientists.
Chuck Swanson, Hancher’s executive director, stressed continuing his program’s outreach focus while welcoming Iowans everywhere to events on campus: “We know the new Hancher will belong to all the people of Iowa, and we will find ways to share it with everyone.”
David Gier, School of Music director, looked forward to uniting music programs back under one roof. Currently, they’re split across seven different locations. “Relationships, community, and communication are crucial to the teaching and learning enterprise,” he said.
“It’s exciting to see as a student that so many people are invested in my future,” said UI junior Jessica Pray, a double major in vocal performance and ethics and public policy. She closed the program with an aria from “Die Fledermaus,” the first of several performances by students that continued into the Old Capitol, site of a post-program reception and student art exhibit.
“Now you see why we’re doing this,” Mason said once Pray had received an ovation from the crowd. “It’s what the University of Iowa is all about.”