Mar 23, 2020
Arts Council, UVA Libraries

As artists, scholars, and librarians, we would like to take the opportunity to explore what constitutes a confrontation and the value added to an artistic expression. Does confrontation enhance the reception of art work? Can confrontation convey meaning beyond the immediacy of the work of art? Is this a purely political phenomenon in the arts or within society? All these questions and more will be embedded in our experimental art collaboration between the UVA Library and artists from both the UVA Arts Grounds community and outside grounds. Faculty, students, and staff from UVA will be part of an exchange with artists, the community, and scholars from the Americas within the broader context of a symposium entitled Art and Confrontation in the Americas / Arte y confrontación en las Américas. The Symposium will be followed by a Conversation with the Visiting Artist, Juan Manuel Echavarria and the UVA and Charlottesville communities.

The Art & Confrontation in the Americas brought in a tuly inclusive audience from all over the University and the greater community. Symposium speakers talked on art and cultural projects in Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, the U.S., the Caribbean, Colombia, Choctow Nation, Richmond, and Charlottesville. The first night of a 4-day celebration, Visiting Artist Juan Manual Echavarria spoke to an audience of 80+ people including faculty, students, staff, and community leaders, about the confrontation of art and war in his native Colombia. The second day of the Symposium, the Drama student ensemble Black Monologues enthralled a 50+ crowd with their dynamic performance piece written by Director Theresa Davis for the theme of the conference. On the evening of the second day, the artist exhibited his work of 40 photographs in Nau Hall co-sponsored by the Department of Art and the Department of Religious Studies to crowd of about 100 people including many students. The exhibition remained in Nau Hall for one month and was then offered by the artist, Juan Manual Echavarria, to the Fralin Art Museum and the University of Virginia as a gift. Finally, both the Echavarria and our own UVA Art professors, Cuatlacuatl, Moyer, and Kasra, had their students interact with the visiting artists and the scholars at the Symposium. Community impact was evident at each event in the series. On the last day, Federico Cuatlacuatl of the UVA Art Dept. held an interview with Colombian artists at the screening of the film “Silencios” at Vinegar Hill. The screening was attended by 50+ people from the community and UVA. Invitations went out to the Latinx community both inside and outside UVA. This resulted in an outpouring of interest, particularly at the artist’s talks.

We believe the Art & Confrontation Symposium was successful. The partnership between Library, artists, and departments has lingered throughout the year. Attendees have approached us to tell us how meaningful the event was for them. Students has begun projects as a result of the influence of the Art & Confrontation in the Americas Symposium. Indigenous speakers were allowed a platform from which to speak to the issues at hand in both Charlottesville and Richmond locally as well as on the border globally. UVA’s Fralin Museum was offered the opportunity to expand their collections and bring in even more Latinx artists’ work. In all this, the Art & Confrontation in the Americas event was a celebration of inclusivity and art as agency. The organizers thank the Arts Council once again for having the presence to fund a conversation on the cutting-edge and make it so successful.

The Arts Council provides advocacy, advice, and support in the Arts at the University of Virginia. It strives to develop and strengthen the bonds of interest and participation among the Arts Departments, their associated programs, and their alumni and friends; to advocate on their behalf; to advise and assist with communications; and to help raise funds in support of academic programs, facilities, and special events. Among its multitude of arts advocacy efforts, the Council awards annual Arts Council Grants. These grants have, and continue to play an instrumental role in a number of residencies, workshops, project and research-based endeavors proposed across Arts Grounds annually. This series of articles will highlight each funded project and serve to inform the UVA community of their unique timelines, progress and outcome reports.

See all 2019-2020 Arts Council Grants Awarded Arts Council Logo