UGA Arts Lab Cluster

The University of Georgia Arts Council is spearheading a new, multi-year initiative to enhance research, practice and community engagement in the arts.

The Arts Lab Cluster includes Arts Lab Faculty Fellowships for faculty that will facilitate faculty research and practice projects, and new fellowships for graduate students.

The Arts Lab Cluster also houses a community-engaged music project known as the Athens Hip Hop Harmonic that brings UGA faculty, students and local Hip Hop artists together to collaborate in a series of community performances.

In addition to the Office of the Provost, the Office of Research, Graduate School, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, and the Willson Center provide funding for the initiative.


Faculty and Graduate Fellowships

The Arts Lab Cluster grew out of the work of the 13-member Task Force on Arts Research and Practice that was convened in 2020-21 by the Arts Council and explored a range of issues with an eye toward increasing the university’s national and international reputation as a premiere institution for the creative disciplines. The task force report noted that success in research and artistic practice undergird all other aspects of program development, including recruitment, teaching and alumni engagement.

The Arts Lab initiative includes Arts Lab Faculty Fellowships for teaching and performance intensive faculty in the arts who are interested in developing practice, research, and curriculum in the arts. Arts Lab Faculty Fellowships provide a one course release and support funds up to $2,000. The first Arts Lab Faculty Fellowships were awarded to Marni Shindelman (Lamar Dodd School of Art) and Aruni Kashyap (English). The Arts Lab Faculty Fellowships are offered in parallel with Willson Center Research Fellowships, which provide a two course release to support humanities and arts scholars or practitioners.

To recognize graduate students in the arts who exhibit extraordinary potential, a series of graduate fellowships are awarded to existing or incoming students in units represented on the Arts Council. The initial graduate fellowships were awarded to Zaira Castillo-Ramos  (MM candidate, Hugh Hodgson School of Music) and Sayantika Mandal (PhD candidate, English and creative writing).


Community Engagement

In coordination with the Willson Center and Ideas for Creative Exploration, the Arts Lab Cluster will house the Athens Hip Hop Harmonic. The community engagement project will be led by Connie Frigo, an associate professor of saxophone in the Hugh Hodgson School of Music, who developed it in collaboration with Athens Hip Hop artist Mariah Parker and promoter Montu Miller.