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Volume 68, Issue 155, Wednesday, July 9, 2003


Staff Editorial


                            Bridget Brown    Matthew Dulin 
Geronimo Rodriguez      Keenan Singleton     Lisa Street


UH: A mecca for the arts

Or at least the Fine Arts program at the University is, now that it has been awarded a $20 million donation from George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell. The money will go toward the implementation of a program that hopes to attract world-renowned artisans and scholars, creating a super-program for the arts, helping UH, yes UH, become a bastion for higher education in the arts. 

Great. What's even better is that now we don't have to drive to the Woodlands to Cynthia's other home for the arts to witness top-notch performances.

But seriously, the gift helps UH retain and improve a vital component to the livelihood of any college campus -- the arts. Something that this hulking mass of concrete and commuters needs -- more viable options for the 34,000-plus students that call UH home. More campus housing (see Greek Park) and the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center were the first steps. This is just another skip in a long, winding road toward a more "traditional" campus feel, something students yearn for daily. 

UH has, and may be, always an affordable university for the working man and woman, but artists, especially artists, need an affordable avenue to explore their artistic pursuits. This donation goes a long way in attracting the large and talented artistic base in Houston (see the prestigious High School for the Performing and Visual Arts).

The bulk of the money ($16 million) will go to funding endowments for "visiting artists and faculty and residencies for emerging artists in all fields (art, music, theater, creative writing) as well as a curator for the Blaffer Gallery, scholarships for graduate students and to outreach initiatives, including new publications."

Expansion and renovation of the School of Theatre building should gobble the remaining $4 million, which will become the future home of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston.

Current students take a sidenote: Woods Mitchell is a former student of the University (she studied art and psychology at UH during the 1940s). Giving back may hurt your pocketbook a tad, but it really helps. The University doesn't disappear after your time here is done. 


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