University of Rochester



The UCIS Cluster for the Arts at the University of Rochester (ARTS@UR) seeks to fund, facilitate, and promote interdisciplinary research and scholarly collaborations on artistic endeavors between faculty and students from various artistic disciplines at the University, including the Eastman School of Music, Memorial Art Gallery, College Department of Music, Department of Art and Art History, UR International Theatre Program, Program of Dance and Movement, and the Division of Medical Humanities in the School of Medicine and Dentistry.

ARTS@UR seeks to:

  • Build a coalition of arts advocates at UR to raise awareness of the arts on campus and in the UR community.
  • Support faculty and student-initiated collaborations on artistic endeavors that bridge artistic disciplines across the university.
  • Strengthen the interdisciplinary study of the arts at the university through research and scholarly activities of value to undergraduate and graduate students

Recent Activities:

2020: The ARTS@UR cluster plannedjoshrice a series of events linked by the power of improvisation to spark creativity. What we know about improvisation and creativity through prolific research and brain imagining basically boils down to the fact that your brain is less inhibited when you’re improvising. Little did we know, just how much improvising we were going to have to do this academic year. As a result, our UCIS cluster was put on hold while we all learned how to navigate the world after the Covid-19 pandemic began. Lines of Improvisation planned to bring students from the Eastman School of Music, The Program in Dance and Movement, Studio Art and the Theater Program to investigate and experience the through line of improvisation across artistic disciplines.

flyer2019: The ARTS@UR cluster focused on landscapes in 2019. Events include a visit from artist Christy Gast an artist whose work across media stems from extensive research and site visits to places she thinks of as “contested landscapes.”

2018: The cluster noted a renewed interest in the narrative in art in 2018 which made perfect sense considering our relationship to social media where we are constantly consuming the stories of others. Telling stories through the arts allows us to access the narrative in a variety of modalities. Unlike a Facebook blurb or tweet, these modes of storytelling allow for meaningful connections between people. We seek to support a variety of artists and scholars from both within and outside the University to curate a semester long program examining the resurgence of storytelling in the arts. More information about the programming can he found here.

Past Activities

2015: Silence is a multidisciplinary, multisite exhibition at the University of Rochester organized by Arts@UR UCIS Cluster.  Silence presents a range of contemporary artists, filmmakers and composers all united around one common question ‘What is silence?’ This multi-layered exhibition includes five different live events over the course of several days. More information found here.

2014: The Day of Arts @ UR focused on Street Art, showcasing movement, dance, music and art executed outside of the context of traditional art venues.  Dr. Ian Wilson, the founder of WALL/THERAPY, and Thievin’ Stephen, muralist, concluded a week-long event with a panel discussion.

2013: The inaugural event Day of the Arts @ UR that was interdisciplinary in every way. Faculty and students from various artistic disciplines collaborated together on topics cutting across traditional boundaries between departments and schools. See flyer here.

Arts@UR Chairs:

Melissa Pfohl Smith:

Stephanie Ashenfelder: