Sent Aug. 21, 2020, to students

Dear students,

As we approach the start of classes, I want to extend a personal welcome as we commence a semester like no other. Over the weeks and months ahead, you are going to have big choices to make.

As an artist, I see our remote circumstance as an opportunity for all of us. We, as artists, have the ability to break barriers and expand our creative efforts; to become stronger together, no matter where we are; and ultimately, how we will change a post-COVID world for the better. This is an opportunity for you to look at artists who have performed in unusual places, or made work in unusual situations, and to discover how great artists have always rethought the conventions of their own medium.

That said, there is no doubt, all of us miss everyone coming back to campus. There’s no such thing as a true campus without you in it.  Nonetheless, we believe in embracing this as an opportunity. With the help of one truly transformational artist, Carrie Mae Weems, we’ve reimagined the impact of our empty physical campus can have on our community. We installed a public art campaign, Resist Covid Take 6! across five of our public-facing locations, to raise awareness of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic—and particularly it’s disproportionate harm to Black, Latino/Latina and Native American communities. I’m pleased to share that Carrie will join us virtually at a later date this semester.

Although we may be living apart, we will continue to create, together. The strength of working together as a community may have never been more important than it is at this moment.

With that in mind, I also would like to share  with you the UArts Remote Healthy Promise. We will be asking all within our community to review and sign this important document in our shared efforts to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, despite our current physical distance from one another.  This will also assist us as a community in adopting the habits and personal responsibilities that will facilitate us reopening safely at a later date in the future.

As you finish making your final preparations to begin the semester, I ask that you work hard and think big. I cannot wait to welcome you all to UArts.

Best wishes,
David