Arts in America
Leon Fleisher, Bonni Thron to Play at Event
Honoring Former Peabody Conservatory Dean
Cline served as dean of the conservatory of the Peabody Institute from 1983 to 1995 and for the past four years has been senior fellow in arts policy at the university's Institute for Policy Studies. As she retires this year, she sees the event as a farewell gathering of sorts.
"I had an idea that before I left Hopkins I would like to share with people what it is I learned and to summarize what I've been trying to say and do all my life," Cline says.
That idea formed the foundation for "The Arts in America: Lifeblood of a Nation and its Citizens-Past, Present and Future," a panel discussion to be held at The Johns Hopkins University at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 26, in Shriver Hall on the Homewood campus. It will feature four speakers selected by Cline and a performance by world renowned pianist Leon Fleisher and young cellist Bonnie Thron, who will perform the Brahms' Sonata in E Minor for piano and cello.
For the past two decades Cline has served on various boards, advisory committees and panels including the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, American Symphony Orchestra League and the National Endowment for the Arts. In her own artistic career Cline is an accomplished pianist and organist, and she has performed with a semi-professional folk dancing troupe and was a member of the Oberlin College Choir and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra chorus. Early in her career, Cline also taught music in elementary, junior and senior high public schools.
During her years in Colorado, she taught at the university level and also had a highly successful independent piano studio. Before coming to Peabody, she was executive director of the Neighborhood Music School, in New Haven, Conn.
"Eileen is fully dedicated to the arts and how the arts enrich the lives of everyone that they touch," says Fran Zarubick, dean of the Peabody Preparatory, who has known Cline for 25 years. "She has helped countless students achieve their musical goals. This event is a wonderful tribute and it's something that should be a highlight of her career here at Johns Hopkins."
The goal of the panel presentations, Cline says, is to spotlight the tremendous value of the arts as an integral part of human life and to make that reality functional in people's lives. One aspect of this discussion will be what Cline sees as the fundamental inclusiveness of the arts. She strongly believes there is too pervasive an "us and them" sentiment in regards to artists and the rest of society.
"It's not about finding the two percent of the population that people feel have talent," she says. "Too many artists perpetuate that myth because they like being special, which they are. But so many children, by the time they are five or six years old, think that the arts is only about being able to draw and sing at a particular level that is possible only for a "chosen" few. I would like to do whatever I can to slay those dragons."
Among the panel's speakers are Peabody Conservatory graduates Darryl Durham, executive director of the Harlem School of Arts, and Kwang-Wu Kim, artistic and administrative director of El Paso Pro Musica. Cline calls Kim very representative of the types of activities and practices that she, as a teacher and policy maker, has been advocating. For example, Kim each year organizes a chamber music festival, and a stipulation in the contract of its performers is that they must agree to speak or teach at a local public school.
Other panelists include Ellen McCullough, a veteran of many years in policy development on Capitol Hill, who currently serves as director of the White House Council for the Millennium, and historian James A. Smith, executive director of the Howard Gilman Foundation, in New York. All of these panelists are well known for their insightful perspectives and effective work, not only in the arts, but also in the many interrelated areas served by philanthropy and government policy.
The program will open with remarks by Johns Hopkins University president William R. Brody.
Admission to the event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 410- 516-8072.
Go to Headlines@HopkinsHome Page