Arts council forms in Berkeley

Berkeley is looking to expand its arts presence on campus.

The college is creating an arts council — led by Master Marvin Chun, Dean Mia Genoni and Julie Reiter ’14 — that aims to encourage students to use Berkeley spaces to showcase visual art. Reiter said that unlike some colleges such as Davenport, Jonathan Edwards and Silliman, Berkeley is not known for its support of student art projects, a perception she said she hopes the council will change. The group will initially rely on Creative and Performing Arts awards to fund exhibitions by students in the college.

“We basically want to expand Berkeley’s connection to the arts and make Berkeley a center of art at Yale,” Reiter said.

Despite support from Berkeley, funding for the council is “still … being worked out,” Reiter said. For the time being, the council plans to fund projects on an individual basis, but will rely heavily on CPA awards, which the Council of Masters distributes for art exhibits and productions in the residential colleges. The first exhibition, which will feature Reiter’s photographic portraiture, for instance, is funded with a CPA award.

Chun said he hopes the council will encourage more students to apply for CPA funding.

Most student art projects in residential colleges are funded by CPA grants.

“Most of the exhibitions I’ve attended or helped set up were at least partially funded by CPA awards,” former Jonathan Edwards Art Gallery manager Kate Huh ’14 said.

Despite their popularity, CPA awards come with numerous restrictions, such as tight funding limits and strict definitions of what students can purchase with the funding. For instance, CPA awards for visual arts are limited to $500 and may not be used to purchase picture frames, which Reiter described as frustrating as she prepares her upcoming exhibit.

Ezra Stiles Master Stephen Pitti ’91, who leads the Arts and Awards Committee on the Council of Masters, declined to comment on the limits imposed by CPA awards. Anna Reynolds, director of finance and administration for the Council of Masters, could not be reached for comment.

Chun said the Berkeley arts council traces its roots to an exhibition in the college last spring, in which students showcased work produced in a variety of mediums including photography and sculpture. After the exhibit, Chun said he and Genoni approached Reiter about creating the council.

“[The exhibition] was so successful that we wanted to keep the momentum going with this Arts Council,” Chun said.

Despite its home in Berkeley, the council hopes to engender a more vibrant arts culture across all of Yale College, primarily through its blog, in which anybody can contribute posts about artists on campus, Reiter said.

Of Yale’s 12 residential colleges, four have art galleries and seven have art studios.

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