Several College of Visual and Performing Arts Departments to Become Schools

Posted: May 19, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Since it was formed in 2001, Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) has continued to undergo significant growth in stature, enrollment and infrastructure.

Keeping in line with other state university arts programs of the same size and stature as CVPA, several departments within the college will become individual schools this fall.

With support from Mason Provost Peter Stearns and the faculties of each department, the Departments of Music, Art and Visual Technology and Dance will be designated as the School of Music, the School of Art and the School of Dance, respectively.

Bill Reeder
William Reeder, dean of CVPA
Creative Services photo

The Theater Department, Film and Video Studies, Arts Management and Computer Game Design programs will retain their current designation.

The decision was made at the Board of Visitors’ final meeting on May 6.

“As the college has continued to grow and expand, the music and dance programs now compete for students with conservatories such as the Peabody Conservatory and the Juilliard School,” says William Reeder, dean of CVPA.

“Being designated as schools will increase the prominence and competitive factors of the programs, and I look forward to the many advantages this will bring to the college.”

In recent years, CVPA has added new degree programs in arts management, film and video studies and computer game design.

The college continues to expand: Art programs will move into a new building in the fall (to be called the School of Art Building), a new performing arts building for music and dance (to be called the Donald and Nancy de Laski Performing Arts Building) will begin construction in June, and the Hylton Performing Arts Center on the Prince William Campus will open in 2010.

This expansion will allow for added growth in the music and art programs. Music is projected to expand from its current 400 majors to 700, and the new School of Art building can allow for an additional 600 majors, which will evolve through growth in art, film and game design.

Adding to its traditional academic assets, CVPA and its faculty are responsible for several professional undertakings, including the Theater of the First Amendment, Mason’s professional theater group; the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra; and the American Festival Pops Orchestra.

Mason’s two performing arts centers on the Fairfax and Prince William Campuses represent fully formed professional facilities and infrastructure. Other professional companies and organizations such as the Virginia Opera, the Fairfax Symphony and the American Youth Philharmonic have residencies on campus.

Through residences and performances, Mason’s dance program routinely interacts with some of the nation’s leading modern dance ensembles, including Parsons Dance Company, Hubbard Street Dance and Mark Morris Dance Group.

Nationally prominent faculty members within the college win national commissions and are included in professional international exhibitions.

Programs such as the Visual Voices lecture series and the Potomac Arts Academy provide students an opportunity to interact with the professional arts world and the community.

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