Following 10 months of close and thoughtful
examination of its broad topic, the Homewood Arts Task
Force has issued its final report, which articulates a
vision to raise the visibility for the arts at Johns
Hopkins and make them more central to the intellectual and
social life of the Homewood campus.
The 47-page document includes 10 major recommendations
— in the areas of academics, administration and live
performance — that the task force feels can be
accomplished within the next five years.
The recommendations include the creation of a senior
administrative position to promote and coordinate the arts;
renovations to existing arts-related facilities, the
establishment of a universitywide arts coordinating council
and the creation of a comprehensive arts Web site for
The report also calls for the expansion of the formal
academic curriculum to create more opportunities for
Homewood undergraduates to study the arts, the
synchronization of class schedules at Peabody and the
Homewood schools to better serve students enrolled in joint
programs, and the furthering of academic partnerships with
local art institutions such as the Baltimore Museum of Art,
Walters Art Museum and Maryland Institute College of
Other recommendations include the development and
implementation of a universitywide collections management
policy for Hopkins' artifactual collections and the
development of a funding strategy for arts-related programs
and projects, including an Arts Innovation Fund to support
The study confirmed the robust nature of the arts at
Homewood, which today boasts an array of programs and
facilities that includes the Hopkins Symphony Orchestra,
Theatre Hopkins, the Shriver Hall Concert Series, Homewood
House Museum and numerous student organizations, ranging
from theater troupes to a cappella groups. The university,
in fact, has witnessed a great period of growth in its
cultural endeavors in recent years, most notably the
opening in 2001 of the Mattin Center, a 53,000-square-foot
complex that includes a black box theater, photography
labs, art exhibition space, and dance and music practice
The Homewood Arts Task Force was created in September
2004 by Provost Steven Knapp and charged with producing a
set of recommendations designed to enhance the visibility
and impact of the university's existing arts programs,
foster a sense of community around the arts and develop
synergies between JHU and Baltimore City cultural
organizations. The task force was focused on, but not
limited to, Homewood arts programs and facilities.
Offerings at Evergreen House and joint ventures with the
Peabody Institute were also considered.
Winston Tabb, dean of university libraries, chaired
the 18-member group, which included staff, faculty,
students, a trustee and a community member. Tabb said the
campus needed a shared strategy for promoting and
sustaining the arts at Homewood as a vital part of the
university's explicit mission to promote lifelong learning.
Whether students come to Johns Hopkins to train in the
sciences or the humanities, Tabb said, many seek out the
arts in order to round out their academic experience.
Tabb said that in order to help steward the
implementation of the recommendations, the creation of a
senior leadership position, such as a vice provost for the
arts, will be critical.
"This would be someone who can look at the arts in a
holistic way, help secure funding for all these endeavors
and make sure the recommendations are being followed
through on," he said.
Several colleges and universities, among them MIT,
Harvard and New York University, have created an associate
provost for the arts position and/or an office for the
arts. Tabb said that Johns Hopkins looks to these schools
as models for where it wants to be in this arena.
Until the point in time when a vice provost for the
arts can be named, the task force recommends that a current
member of university administration be charged with the
task of implementing the report's recommendations.
One of the major catalysts for Johns Hopkins' looking
into this area was the continuing inadequacy of facilities
for the arts and the growing, excessive competition for
limited space among Hopkins student groups.
In terms of facilities, the report calls for
renovations to Shriver Hall's auditorium and related
performance spaces, such as the green rooms; the conversion
of the Arellano Theater in Levering Hall to a true
performing arts space; and conducting a study to determine
the need and feasibility of building a new dedicated
performing arts facility with one or more performance
For academics, the report cites the need for new
arts-related courses, such as a comprehensive history of
art survey class, and for fostering existing relations with
the BMA, the Walters and MICA through collaborative
programs that would benefit all participants, such as the
establishment of a museum studies minor.
Task force member Eric Beatty, director of Homewood
Arts Programs, said that the university has made a lot of
progress in promoting arts programs and encouraging the
efforts of students in artistic areas. He cited the recent
creation of two new a cappella groups, the S.L.A.M.!
hip-hop dance group, Witness Theater and the Egyptian Sun
The passion and desire are there, Beatty said, and now
the university needs to expand and enhance the arts venues
and do a better job of consolidating the promotion of arts
programs, such as having a central Homewood box office and
a dedicated arts Web site.
Pamela Cranston, associate provost for academic
affairs and a task force member, said that this report will
serve as a vital guiding document.
"We see this report as a road map for the future of
the arts here," Cranston said. "It's a start, but not the
The Homewood Arts Task Force final report can be found