Over time the Greek community at UVa has called Rugby Road its home, though they are not alone. The arts community at the university also shares this road and has appropriately earned the official name of ‘Arts Grounds.’ Arts Grounds consists of the new Ruffin Hall (Studio Art Department), Hunter Smith Band Building, Fayerweather Hall (McIntire Department of Art), Campbell Hall (School of Architecture), the Bayly Building (Fralin Museum of Art), and the Drama Building. The fact that this cluster of buildings is physically separated from the rest of Grounds has created an interesting dichotomy. On one hand it allows these departments to build a strong arts community together but also makes it difficult to draw in students to their events unless they actively want to be a part of this community.
I think it’s fair to say that UVa loves tradition. So one way Arts Grounds has been able to pull in a multitude of students is through the tradition of Final Fridays. On the last Friday of every month the Fralin Art Museum (though it sometimes shifts locations) hosts an evening of refreshment and snacks as students (and the public) can collect to enjoy professional and student art work. Even if students are just coming for free wine and cheese it still gets them out to experience the space of Arts Grounds.
Another program that has developed is ‘Art$’ (pronounced arts dollars). The idea is that a part of tuition goes to funding the arts so then all students can receive essentially ‘free’ tickets to almost any drama, dance, or music performance put on by the university, as well as tickets to the Virginia Film Festival. This concept encourages students to attend high-quality performances put on by these departments because they don’t have to pay out of pocket. It works as an incentive to get students to Arts Grounds, especially to the Drama Building. The newly renovated Drama Building is a result of millions of dollars toward modernizing the exterior of the space, incorporating a rooftop patio, and adding a new 300-seat theatre (the Ruth Caplin Theatre) last spring.
So, whenever you may come down for a visit make sure to take a special trip to Arts Grounds, even alumni Tina Fey has visited!