Artistic growth thrives on campus


The Arts Initiative creates an environment where students are encouraged to learn and collaborate.

There’s a place at UVM where everyone from bakers to painters can gather to learn and grow as artists.

The Arts Initiative, a Living/Learning program, connects students directly to their art, other art forms and other artists on campus.

The Arts Initiative is entering its fifth year. The programs within the Arts Initiative have expanded since their foundation.

“[The programs are] student-designed,”  said Ann Barlow, the director of the Arts Initiative. “They come up with the direction they want to go in, and then are presented to a committee.”

Examples of current houses within the Arts Initiative include Cakes With a Cause, the Dead Poets Society and Japanese Visual Culture.

“The other program that kind of falls into the Arts Initiative is the Integrated Fine Arts, which is a first-year experience program,” Barlow said. “They are also part of [the Arts Initiative].”

The Integrated Fine Arts is a Teacher Advisory Program   that requires students to take courses specific to their program.

The program is dedicated to creating leaders in artistic fields, according the the Integrated Fine Arts website.

Students enrolled in these programs live together in suites. This environment encourages them to expand their creative horizons.

“It’s cool how each person thrives in their different area,” said Katherine Reid, a first-year studio art major.

The Arts Initiative creates an environment where students are encouraged to learn and collaborate.

“We were all asking each other: What can we do to these pieces to do well?” Reid said, discussing the midterm portfolio submission process. “The responses that everybody was giving each other, we all realized we learned much more than we thought we did.”

The students in Integrated Fine Arts are engaged in different classes that  explore different elements of artistic expression.

“We have a green music class, which is about music and nature and how they relate to each other,” Reid said. “All the people who jive with the music thing really love that class, and next semester we’re having a creative writing class, which a lot of the English majors and the creative writing majors are really excited for.”

This community of artists is also divers “All of our artist backgrounds, the music one person likes is different from the other, and we all kind of mix together,” said Reid when describing how the environment has taught her more about art.

If you want to see the Arts Initiative in action, they are currently preparing for their Open Suite Night, which will take place Thursday, Nov 12.

There is also a Visiting Artist Series, where different artists come to UVM to discuss art, and is open to the public at 5:30 p.m. Thursdays in 216 Living Learning Commons.