Sent to current students, faculty and staff May 5, 2020

Dear current students, faculty and staff,

As we head into the final days of the semester, I write to you with an update on our response to the COVID-19 global pandemic and our planning for the 2020–2021 academic year. UArts’ mission is to advance human creativity in an increasingly complex and technology-driven world. Now more than ever, we hold fast to our shared belief that creativity is the true catalyst for social and economic change and the most essential skill for success in today’s society.

In a post-pandemic world, I believe it is the creatives that will lead the critical work of defining and shaping life as we know it; that artists, performers, writers, designers and makers like you will challenge entrenched assumptions and conventions, seek and establish the meaning of chaos, loss and tragedy—of which the pandemic has delivered more than its share—and demonstrate the resilience of that trait which makes us human: creativity.

I know you believe this too, as I have witnessed the immense work and tireless efforts you—our students, faculty and staff—have made over the past two months to preserve and sustain what it is we work towards each day at UArts.

I have been astounded by your accomplishments; the courses you’ve transitioned; and the projects, showings, exhibitions and creative works you’ve executed amid great adversity. I thank you all for the compassion, drive and commitment you’ve demonstrated.

Because of your accomplishments over the past two months, I feel confident that we will succeed in the fall, despite the challenges we may face.

So, you might ask, what will fall at UArts look like?

Like you, we aren’t sure yet. But here’s what we do know.

Our Goal: On Campus & In Person
Our goal is to welcome you and all our students, faculty and staff back to Philadelphia with in-person, on-campus experiences that represent the creative fabric that is UArts.

Safety & Health Above All
If we are required to provide remote, hybrid or socially distant education, we will do so in a way that prioritizes your health and safety and considers who you are as artists and as students. It will be done understanding where you are now and where you need to go. We will work closely with our health partners, specifically Jefferson Health, to ensure we establish a proactive plan for the well-being of all of our students, faculty and staff.

Relevant & Reflective of Today’s World
The realities of a world affected by COVID continue to have profound impact on our lives in unimaginable ways, and it would be shortsighted to ignore how the pandemic will change creative practices across disciplines tomorrow. We are hard at work considering how performances will be different, how artists and designers will refocus their practices, and how storytellers will tell different stories. We must consider the critical role creatives will play in the future and embed it in our plans for the fall.  

In closing, I look forward to welcoming you back to campus in the fall. In the meantime, I ask that you please continue to adhere to the social distancing and health practices the government requires of us. Stay safe, and stay healthy.

With open hearts and creative minds, we will get through these challenging days together. And together, we will continue to advance human creativity.

With best wishes,

David Yager