IUP to Redefine Lively Arts, Discontinue OnStage

Posted on 12/3/2010 9:09:24 AM

In order to better serve the arts programming needs of the Indiana community and the academic mission of the IUP community, IUP’s Lively Arts program will be redefined for the 2011-2012 season, and, at the end of the current season, the OnStage Arts and Entertainment series will be discontinued.

The Lively Arts originated at IUP in 1988 as an umbrella for all performing and visual arts events presented by the College of Fine Arts. Over the years, it has expanded offerings to include a visiting artist series—Performance Plus—and an arts-in-education program, funded by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. The Lively Arts also manages the IUP Performing Arts Center, which includes Fisher Auditorium.

The Lively Arts presents nearly two hundred events annually, serving up to 35,000 audience members each year, making the Lively Arts the primary and most active single presenter of arts events in the Western Pennsylvania region outside the city of Pittsburgh.

In the 2010-2011 season, OnStage, a program separate from the Lively Arts, presented twelve productions and sponsored the OnStage in School programming.

“IUP has a long tradition of providing a wide variety of touring visiting artists. This will not change,” IUP’s interim presidentDavid Werner, said.

“OnStage has been enjoyed by the Indiana community for many years, and we have been proud to offer this resource for our region. However, in all that we do, we must maintain our focus on our academic mission, especially in these very challenging budget times.

“A primary aspect of the change in arts programming at the university through the Lively Arts will be the move toward a single touring artist performance series that focuses more centrally on the academic mission.

“In addition, the centering of university arts programming within one area simply makes sense, both programmatically and fiscally. While IUP is firmly committed to serving as a resource for arts in our community, in order to meet this goal, we must be as financially efficient as possible and must seek to eliminate duplication of services.”

The new goals for IUP’s programming also include how to better address the university’s work of serving the greater community as an artistic, social, educational, and economic resource for the region and contributing, in a highly significant way, to the quality of life for the communities, College of Fine Arts Dean Michael Hood said.

“What is most important to any potential booking is that it is first and foremost something audiences will enjoy and find entertaining and enriching,” Hood said.

“In addition to well-known acts, our audiences will be treated to a variety of performers that may offer a new sound, a different style, an established classical standard, a quirky flair, or an exceptional world perspective.”

Werner noted that university arts and entertainment programming must also be coordinated with programming being developed for the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex.

The Lively Arts will be directed by Hank Knerr, current director of Public Events, in consultation with a university-community advisory group. Knerr has served in his role since 1989.

“IUP has been most fortunate to have outstanding community support for our arts programming from community businesses and individuals. We will work to maintain these strong relationships with our arts supporters, partner organizations and businesses throughout the region as we develop future seasons of arts programming,” Hood said.

While programming is still being developed for the 2011-2012 season, the Lively Arts will continue its commitment to supporting the growth of world-class artists and their repertoire through commissioning new works and contracting world premiere performances.

It also will plan to present a variety of musicals, contemporary and classic dance, folk styles, jazz musicians, international artists, classical music, and more. It is anticipated that, depending on funding and other variables, the season will present between ten and twelve events annually.

For the remainder of the 2010-2011 season, both the OnStage series and the various events and activities planned through the Lively Arts, including the Performance Plus series, will continue as scheduled.

As plans for the 2011-2012 season progress, information will continue to be updated on the Lively Arts website.

Subscribers to the Lively Arts’ eLetter, Facebook, and Twitter pages will also receive regular updates. Community members are invited to offer ideas by visiting the Lively Arts website and by participating in two surveys.