Coleman named interim head of new CU-Boulder arts program

Bud Coleman, chair of the CU-Boulder Department of Theatre & Dance in Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 2013 production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Bud Coleman, chair of the Department of Theatre & Dance, in Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s 2013 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Photo by Zachary Andrews


The name may not stick, but the ideas behind a proposed Interdepartmental Program in Fine Arts have stirred enthusiasm in the Film Studies, Art and Art History and Theatre & Dance departments at CU-Boulder. The program could lead to the creation of a new fine-arts school within the college.

“It is very exciting that these three units are being viewed by the campus as the ideal cohorts to not only test this model, but possibly define a new school structure,” says Bud Coleman, chair of the Theatre & Dance Department and just-named interim director of IPFA.

“Our goal is to develop a formal structure for the program along the lines of a school within the college,” wrote Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Leigh and Associate Dean David Boonin in a letter to faculty on June 20.

Coleman’s primary role will be to steer the effort to develop proposals for campus and CU system approval, including a job description for a director position, mission statement and other documents.

“I’ll help put the machinery in place for the nation-wide search for a permanent director, which will take place in the 2013-14 academic year,” says Coleman, who will continue as department chair but will not teach during the upcoming year, to make time for his new duties.

Bringing the fine arts programs together will increase opportunities for collaboration, including the potential for such things as the creation of core classes involving multiple disciplines, new areas of research and even student-designed interdisciplinary arts majors.

“None of that is set in stone,” Coleman says. “But the sky is the limit on what outcomes we might see.”

The effort to create the new school arose in part from discussions around proposals to create a new college for information, communication, journalism, media and technology at CU-Boulder. Early proposals would have brought fine arts programs together with communications, advertising and design, media technology and other programs. Members of fine-arts faculty came together for meetings to discuss other alternatives.

Coleman says IPFA will “continue the arts town hall meetings we started in 2012-13 in order to discuss what projects, courses and degrees a more united arts school might realize on this campus.”

The new program also would parallel recent efforts to reconfigure and streamline fundraising, marketing and box-office functions for performing arts on campus. In 2012 the CU Foundation created the new Music, Arts and Culture fundraising team. In addition, the box-office and marketing departments for the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Department of Theatre & Dance integrated with those of the Artist Series, CU Opera, the Takács Quartet and the Holiday Festival under the CU Presents umbrella.

“This is the ideal time to explore communication, bridge-building and collaborations not only between film, art and art history and theatre and dance, but also cognate units like CSF, the CU Art Museum, Creative Writing, the ATLAS Center for Media, Arts and Performance, the Center for the Humanities and the Arts, the College of Music, and other programs,” Coleman says.