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UW-Madison celebrates awards in the arts, announces Arts Institute reorganization

May 20, 2014 By Susannah Brooks

Photo: dancers at Arts Institute ceremony

A surprise dance performance greeted attendees at the annual Arts Awards reception held at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. The event also celebrated the reorganization of the campus’s Arts Institute.

Photo © 2014 Jim Escalante

University of Wisconsin–Madison students performing spoken word, dance and drumming brought audience members to their feet at a surprise live performance during UW–Madison’s annual Arts Awards reception.

The performance, led by Tony Di Sanza, professor of percussion, and Chris Walker, assistant professor of dance, was only one highlight of the event, held on Thursday, May 15 in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

This year’s event also celebrated the newly reorganized presence of the Arts Institute. In January, Chancellor Rebecca Blank granted permission to reorganize and officially constitute the Arts Institute as the first division on the UW–Madison campus solely dedicated to the arts: their administration, outreach, performance, teaching and learning.

“The arts are a vital part of the campus and the community, and this new structure will help us realize their full potential at UW–Madison,” said Blank, in written remarks shared in the event program. “The contributions the arts have made to our campus and the world are significant, and we are confident this move will ensure those contributions grow, are recognized, and are celebrated.”

The Arts Institute will leverage existing curricula and resources through partnerships with colleagues and institutes from across campus in a more systematic, engaged, and instructional manner. Over the next year, changes in the works for the Arts Institute include:

  • Collective representation for the arts at the highest level of governance, with the Arts Institute’s executive director granted a place on the Dean’s Council.
  • Development and implementation of an interdisciplinary arts curriculum, with courses offered as early as Fall 2014. Since February, 76 faculty from across campus have chosen to affiliate with the Arts Institute.
  • Campus support to address the areas of research, student internships, outreach, and audience services to improve arts and interdisciplinary arts programs on campus.

These initiatives and efforts will enhance campuswide recruitment efforts and research advancements, building a more diverse and competitive profile for UW–Madison while ensuring access to a broader dynamic educational experience for all UW–Madison students, faculty, and staff.

Norma Saldivar, executive director of the Arts Institute, enthusiastically thanked everyone involved in setting this new path for the arts at UW–Madison, in particular Chancellor Blank and Provost Paul DeLuca.

The individuals honored by this year’s Arts Awards epitomize the dedication to outstanding artistic achievement that has already established the Arts Institute as a strong presence on campus. Each recipient embodied the outstanding range, quality and diversity of the arts at UW–Madison.

Awards for student achievement:

David and Edith Sinaiko Frank Graduate Fellowship for a Woman in the Arts

Liz Heller, art

Katherine Lieder, theatre and drama

Esther Taylor Graduate Arts Fellowship

Alan Carr, music

Chazen Prize to an Outstanding MFA Student

Sandra Erbacher, art

Awards for faculty research:

Kellet Mid-Career Award, presented by the Graduate School

Anthony Di Sanza, professor of percussion

Vilas Associate Award, presented by the Graduate School

Stephen Hilyard, professor of digital arts

Laura Schwendinger, professor of music composition

Vilas-Phipps Distinguished Achievement Professorship

Manon van de Water, professor of theatre and drama

Emily Mead Baldwin Award

Fred Stonehouse, associate professor of painting

Joseph Koykkar, professor of dance

Arts Institute Creative Arts Award

Lisa Gralnick, professor of art metal

Awards for faculty outreach:

Van Hise Outreach Teaching Award

Chelcy Bowles, professor of music

Edna Wiechers Arts in Wisconsin Award

Helen Lee, assistant professor of glassworking

Joyce J. and Gerald A. Bartell Award in the Arts

Paul Sacaridiz, professor of ceramics

National and international faculty recognition:

2014 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master

Richard Davis, professor of bass, jazz history and combo improvisation

2014 Outstanding Educator Awarded from the International Sculpture Center

Aristotle Georgiades, professor of sculpture

Alumni recognition:

Wisconsin Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award

Iris Apfel, BSE 1943 (art education)

University of Wisconsin–Madison Honorary Doctorate

Rocco Landesman, BA 1969 (English)

The Arts Institute’s mission is to educate, advocate, and inspire through all forms of creative expression. Outreach and interdisciplinary programs include Artist in Residency, Arts Outreach (touring School of Music ensembles), The Studio (residential campus living community) and the Wisconsin Film Festival and Arts Services Hub (centralized administration of the campus’s visual and performing arts). Visit for more information.

Saldivar and members of the Executive Committee acknowledged the following donors for their generous support of the annual Arts Awards: the Joyce J. and Gerald A. Bartell family, Suzanne and Roberto Freund, Emily McKay and Ruth and Hartley Barker, Mrs. Esther Taylor, the Bassett and Evjue Foundations, the University of Wisconsin Foundation, and the Vilas Trustees.