Greetings! As we begin the Fall 2021 semester, we are all more than ready to enjoy the re-opening of our beautiful campus and the resumption of in-person events and activities from all of our arts disciplines, with the addition of some hybrid approaches to presentation. We anticipate with great excitement our November 5th Art Walk: Art Restart. And yet, Covid is still with us, masks are required to be worn in all in-door spaces (with selected allowances for performers), and UNLV will soon require all faculty, staff and students (with noted exceptions) to be vaccinated. The vaccination requirement will be a firm stipulation for students registering for classes in the Spring 2022 semester.
For months I have written these sorts of letters intermittently for our UNLV College of Fine Arts newsletters – juxtaposing the resilience, optimism, and determination of artists, fortified with the deep belief that the arts are essential and vital to a healthy society, with the stark reality of living in the pandemic era.
Today I want to add a complementary message. Acknowledging the complexity we are living through in this moment – and that includes considerable Covid anxiety, ambiguity, and exhaustion – what we are trying to achieve is worth it! SO very much worth it! Whatever world is in our futures, our students are receiving a world-class education that will lead them to fascinating career paths and ways of contributing to society that we may not even be able to imagine in 2021. How truly incredible this is! Creating knowledge in the arts has a bright future on our planet and beyond. Here is the insight that is most exciting to me: each student is completely original and unique. In the ecosystem of humankind, every student has the unlimited potential to profoundly and positively influence aspects of global society and to do great good for all of us. No virus can take away the spirit, momentum and inspiration that a great education can offer to each student. No experience is wasted. Our students and faculty take artistic risks, they soar, and they give greatly of themselves. They reflect and make meaning of all that they do. They make artistic knowledge come alive.
As I said in my May 2021 graduation remarks, there is almost nothing that can’t happen in a life if someone wants it enough. Despite the struggles with and sometimes dire predictions about Covid – with its vicissitudes and constant shifts in protocols -- we will not be deterred in providing this remarkable education and adding value to the lives of our students, regardless of the challenges that may arise.
I wish you an especially momentous semester. We are all in this adventure together and I look forward to sharing the events and the precious experiences of the semester with you.
Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter if you haven't already done so to ensure you stay in the loop with all of our faculty, student and alumni news.
Wishing the College of Fine Arts a great semester and academic year,
Nancy J. Uscher