The Arts at Carolina: Your Passport to the World
Carolina's seven major academic initiatives will be celebrated during the week of each home football game this season. The second -- in the week leading up to the Carolina vs. Ole Miss game Sept. 24 -- is the University's contribution to the cultural arts.
There is no greater mark of a vibrant public university than its cultural arts. In South Carolina, no college or university has a greater impact on the state through its visual, written, and performing arts than does the University of South Carolina.
Through diverse cultural offerings, Carolina enhances student learning and improves the quality of life of citizens and communities across the state. Each year, the University offers hundreds of annual live music and theatre performances, poetry readings and museum exhibitions that enrich, inspire, and entertain. Many performances and all exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Arts faculty and students, individually and collaboratively, challenge and transform audiences with ideas and emotions that transcend time and cultures and that reflect the human experience.
The School of Music is among the top 25 university music schools in the country. The school’s faculty and 480 students deliver more than 300 performances – from classical and jazz to contemporary and computer music – each year in South Carolina and throughout the world. The award-winning Southern Exposure New Music Series is a favorite among members of the community. An innovative curriculum enhances the school's conventional music education by having students learn about music entrepreneurship, advocacy, and community engagement. The school offers the most comprehensive array of community outreach programs for music-making in the nation with programs that range from the innovative Music Play! for infants and USC String Project for school-age children to The Congaree New Horizons Band for senior citizens. Its impact extends to nearly every K-12 public and private school, as Carolina’s School of Music has prepared the vast majority of the state’s music teachers.
Art at the University is international and illuminating, with faculty artists collaborating with artists worldwide. The scope and the geography vary with projects including an award-winning film that documents China and South Carolina’s relationship in textiles and commerce, a major ceramic installation in Australia, the establishment of a new school for painters in Italy and a photography project that documents the Mississippi Delta region’s move from Jim Crow to a new millennium. The department of art’s McMaster Gallery features individual and group exhibitions of works by university and guest artists.
The department of theatre and dance is dynamic in every way from its degree programs and facilities to the superior level of choreography, acting, and staging in its productions. It boasts the state’s only master of arts in teaching degree for theatre and an undergraduate dance program that has busted at the seams since it began in 2005. Longstreet Theatre, a theater in the round, is a challenging and rewarding space for actors and designers that brings the audience into the action. The must-see “Cyrano de Bergerac” opens Sept. 25 in Longstreet. This spring, the dance program moved into a new Band and Dance Building, giving dance instructors like Thaddeus Davis and Tanya Wideman-Davis new opportunities to teach innovative and contemporary choreography to students.
McKissick Museum is home to one of the largest university museum collections in the Southeast, with diverse holdings that range from fine art to folk and decorative arts. Through presentation and perpetuation, McKissick exhibits help South Carolinians understand how cultural traditions evolve and influence our lives. This winter, the museum will open “Grass Roots: African Origins of an American Art,” which showcases the survival of African-American basketry through local artisans from Mount Pleasant.
The arts at Carolina encompass more than traditional performing and visual arts. They include the South Carolina Poetry Initiative, one of the most innovative community statewide poetry projects in the country, and “Caught in the Creative Act,” an enormously popular community course taught by Carolina Distinguished Professor Janette Turner Hospital that brings Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize-winning writers to campus to discuss their writing.
Helping to pull the spectrum of arts together is the Arts Institute, which provides funding and support for collaboration among faculty and student artists and the creation of new and innovative projects.