Sunday, January 5, 2003

UC at crossroads

Shaping culture in 2003

Two of the most prized colleges at the University of Cincinnati are its College-Conservatory of Music and the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. Both have stunning new facilities built by signature architects. Both have relatively new deans. And both are undergoing change.

In 2003, CCM is faced with critical faculty appointments that will affect the school's national and international prestige, while DAAP is hoping to become a more relevant player in Cincinnati.

Within its $93.2 million, Henry Cobb-designed "Campus Village," CCM is the largest single source of performances in Ohio: its 1,400 students put on nearly 1,000 concerts, recitals, plays and operas per year.

All that talent spills out into Cincinnati's cultural life. More than 100,000 people annually attend concerts in Corbett Auditorium. CCM's graduates populate local orchestras - including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - universities, radio and TV stations. Its musical theater, drama and opera graduates return to star in Broadway shows at the Aronoff Center, or to perform with Cincinnati Opera, May Festival or the CSO.

But faculty departures have left large gaps at CCM. On Dean Douglas Lowry's front burner are two critical appointments that will determine whether the school can maintain its reputation as one of the top-tier musical conservatories in the nation: an illustrious violin teacher to replace the famed Dorothy DeLay, who died in March, and a new opera division head to succeed Malcolm Fraser, who retired in September.

There are other gaps to fill in opera, chamber music, dance (which also lacks a division head) and other areas. The faculty members who are hired will determine the stars of the future.

Across campus, within DAAP's Aronoff Center for Design and Art designed by Peter Eisenman, the school - which is actually four schools under one roof - is proud of its record as a pacesetter among college arts programs. Its students display their art in four galleries, including one on Fourth Street, downtown. (UC is renovating a Main Street building that will include a permanent gallery to showcase the university's art collection, largely made up of Cincinnati artists, to open in 2004.)

To maintain the school's prestige, Dean Judith Koroscik aims to create endowed faculty chairs. To have more impact in the community, she plans to forge stronger ties with area corporations, professionals and cultural groups.

You'll see DAAP's impact in stylish new uniforms for staff at the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art, which students are designing, with help from New Yorker Stan Herman (DAAP class of 1950), the country's leading uniform fashion designer.

DAAP students are tackling Cincinnati's urban problems in the Niehoff Studio in Over-the-Rhine. There will be more urban art as students work with city teens in "Art in the Market," which has already produced murals for Findlay Market. And students regularly huddle with engineers at Procter & Gamble to help conceptualize new ideas and products.

Watch for a "very meaningful" project with Hebrew Union College to be announced in the fall.

25 forces that will shape culture in 2003
1. The big economic squeeze
2. Clear Channel's dominance
3. Suburbanites: Will they roam?
4. The plea for racial healing
5. The media's message
6. A whole new ball game
7. Edgy art center opening
8. Tall Stacks rolls back
9. Will tourists go home happy?
10. How Fine Arts Fund carries clout
11. You can't fight City Hall
12. Laura Long: Downtown force
13. The CSO's growing empire
14. Rosenthals' big impact
15. Northern Kentucky development
16. Museum Center's main man
17. Lobbyist Weiland
18. UC at crossroads
19. The Nederlanders make a comeback
20. MidPoint: Rebuild the city on rock 'n' roll
21. The Schuster Center alternative
22. Another public art project goes to bat
23. The brain drain
24. Local film community gains focus
25. Dancing around visa problems
The wild card of 2003: War
2003 dates to keep in mind

DEMALINE: The arts
KENDRICK: Alive & Well
Get to it!