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U-M Arts Initiative Signature


Our strengths and opportunities are clear—U-M is a leader in arts research, creation, education and presentation. As this initiative matures in the years ahead, we will have the opportunity to create new dimensions of U-M excellence through the arts—ones that are perhaps unknown to us today."

—President Mark S. Schlissel

Arts Initiative

President Schlissel and the Arts Initiative Working Group are inviting all members of the university community to help shape the Arts Initiative. Currently in its startup phase (January 2020 to December 2021), the Arts Initiative seeks to:

  • Enhance students’ creative capacities to solve problems
  • Increase understanding of humans and the human experience
  • Catalyze innovation, discovery and insights, especially through multidisciplinary faculty research
  • Exemplify and promote the importance of arts in a research university
  • Increase U-M’s engagement with the public through the arts


The startup phase is a dynamic period of investigation and inquiry during which the group seeks the input, ideas and thinking of faculty, staff, students, alumni and partner organizations through activities such as exploration projects, engagement sessions with stakeholder groups, and larger scale public interactions with art and performance.

Through these interactions we will explore questions such as:

  • How can we incorporate arts and creativity into the experience of all our students?
  • How can the arts help solve some of the most urgent problems facing us today?
  • How can the arts bring us together and strengthen empathy and dialog across differences?
  • How can the arts catalyze discovery and innovation in teaching, research and service?

The answers to these questions will guide the planning and growth of the initiative.

By completion of the startup phase, the working group will create a comprehensive programmatic plan for the initiative. The plan will define specific areas of focus, as well as budgetary and organizational recommendations to support the initiative’s long-term success.

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The University Record | Campus arts initiative to ‘unleash imagination and creativity’

A working group of arts leaders on campus will collaborate with all parts of the university in creating the initiative.