What a dramatic beginning to the new academic year! I joined the Arts + Design Office as its first communications manager in the Spring of 2017. Since then, I launched the new A+D website, established a campus-wide A+D Communications Committee, and curated several campus events. But Fall 2017 semester was my first real chance to interact with students and to tell them what it means to engage with the Berkeley’s Arts + Design landscape. I was ready and eager to launch the 2017/18 year with goal of ensuring that all Cal students could discover the gems of UC Berkeley’s creative campus.
The Arts + Design at UC Berkeley is a rich, inclusive, and exciting community that includes more than 40 academic programs, centers, and museums, plus more than 100 student clubs. Arts + Design encompasses a wide range of interests and fields, from majors in Art Practice to Music to Environmental Design; to centers that encourage deep thinking like the Berkeley Center for New Media, Arts Research Center, and Townsend Center for the Humanities; to institutions like Cal Performances, BAMPFA, Worth Ryder Gallery, or the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life or to clubs that that encourage creative exploration, activism, and problem solving.
The new academic year was packed with exciting opportunities to meet incoming and returning students with a variety of interests. Our fall semester began with a takeover of the UC Berkeley official Snapchat account (follow them at ucberkeley). From August 7–11, the Arts + Design student team gave a campus-wide tour of Visual Arts, Performing Arts, Literature, Film and Media, and Design. More than 6,000 users watched as we toured dozens of the incredible spaces and programs on campus, ending the week with 200,000 total duplicated views. We visited spaces like the Jacobs Institute of Design Innovation, where students can get an all-access maker pass each semester to use 3-D printers, laser cutters, classes and more. We toured across the campus, from the College of Environmental Design’s galleries and libraries to the Campanile’s carillon to the Berkeley Art Studio and more. At the KALX radio station, we explored studio and recording spaces, learning that any student can train to become a DJ, director or producer of live radio! If you missed our week-long tour, you can find Snap Chat highlights on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.
During Golden Bears Orientation, Associate Vice Chancellor of the Arts + Design, Shannon Jackson, led a packed tour (seventy-two incoming students) across our creative campus. Beginning at Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, and ending at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, students were incredibly excited and eager to learn more our many programs. We stopped at the Department of Music, College of Environmental Design, Worth Ryder Gallery, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Cal Performances, Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, Arts Research Center, CITRIS Tech Museum, and many more. Try taking a self-guided version of this tour by picking up an Arts + Design map at the Dwinelle Annex on campus or download our newly redesigned map.
After our Golden Bears Orientation tour, we set up the Arts + Design District at Caltopia to meet more students. For two days we talked with thousands of students and community members about how they can engage with programs at UC Berkeley. Our Arts + Design District at Caltopia included campus programs like the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), Cal Performances, Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Arts Research Center, Department of Music, Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies, and Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. The Art Practice department ran a booth called “Five Minute Portraits,” at which Berkeley student artists drew more than 600 portraits of Caltopia participants! Did you get one?
We received lots of enthusiastic feedback about our efforts to spread awareness about our creative resources. Current students expressed their overwhelming gratitude for the Snapchat tour, and alumni wished there had been something similar offered when he/she attended Berkeley: “I graduated this May, and I’ve got to say, if I had seen all of this before I started school at Berkeley, my experience would have been 100X better. Great job with the videos!!!” I received similar feedback offline as well as online. Dozens of students told me that they were photographers, painters, actors, singers, played an instrument (or many), but weren’t sure how to continue their practice now that they were in college. No matter your level or your major, there are so many resources on campus that will allow you to continue your interests – or begin new ones. It is my goal as the Communications Manager of the Arts + Design Initiative to facilitate and promote a creative life for every student on campus. Our A+D mission is to foster “dynamic collaboration, innovation, and public access across all arts and design fields, on campus and in public life.” Whether you’re majoring in the arts and design fields, in humanities, social sciences, or in STEM, there is an access point for you to participate. If you’re interested in finding out how to do this, I encourage all students to spend a few moments on our website where you’ll find events to attend, news to read, programs to discover, and opportunities for participation, grants, and internships.
Now that the new year is underway, we’re looking forward to the future of the A+D student assembly. This Fall, we’ve appointed UC Berkeley student Derrick Duren as the Chair of the newly established Arts + Design Student Committee. Derrick’s committee includes leaders from a range of student clubs with an interest in the arts and design. This committee will bring Arts + Design student leaders together in order to collaborate, to co-curate engaging events, and to provide a communications hub so that A+D can better serve you. If you belong to an arts or design related student club in the visual arts, performing arts, literature, media/film, or design, please reach out to Derrick Duren at firstname.lastname@example.org to join the committee. Derrick plans to hold the inaugural meeting at the end of the semester.
In the meantime, we encourage your engagement in our fall programs. The Arts + Design Student Committee is partnering with a number of student clubs to host pre-lecture mixers before our Monday Night lectures for the Arts + Design Mondays @ BAMPFA series Public (Re)Assembly. Meanwhile, we hope that students will explore our suite of Creative Gateway courses, including our open public lectures at noon with A+D Wednesdays. We’re also promoting Berkeley students, faculty and alumni to display their work on the Arts + Design website in the Made at Berkeley gallery by submitting projects to Portfolium. And we hope you’ll look out for Issue 02 of the Made at Berkeley book later this fall. Finally, we encourage students to sign up for our emails, where we list our event picks along with arts and design related job and internship opportunities on and off campus. Join on us on all social media channels too (Facebook, Instragram, Twitter, Youtube).
With all of the collaboration and network-building happening this year, we hope you’ll consider joining us – and by “us” I mean the entire creative campus – by engaging, connecting, participating and enjoying all that the A+D landscape has to offer.
Have questions? Want to collaborate, learn more, participate? Email me at email@example.com.