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Great universities engage the community through the arts

A great university, by its very existence, improves the community in which it exists.

Among other things, a great university educates people, teaches critical thinking skills, jump starts economic development, conducts transitional research and supports the arts.

Some of those activities are obvious. One that may not be as obvious is that of supporting the arts.

The University of Louisville is committed to improving the cultural and social fabric of the community. Why? People want to live in areas that have active arts and culture components. Employers in those areas can attract employees more easily because of the arts. The arts add quality to life.

This semester, UofL has played host to an extensive exhibit of the works of sculptor Frederick Hart. Doing so was a big, bold step for us, but one we felt was important because of the ways in which we could reach out to the community and draw it to us.

More than just showcase his work, we built curriculum around it, took it to schools and organizations in the community through a special program called Hart on Wheels, partnered with the Louisville Ballet to commission a work based on Hart's "Ex Nihilo" (to premiere in late February) and welcomed guest speakers who have discussed both all aspects of the artist and his work.

We have engaged the community.

The exhibit locations, educational opportunities and all pertinent information are at http://louisville.edu/frederickhart

I hope you have taken time from your busy schedule to see the exhibit. The exhibit closes Nov. 18. If you have not had the opportunity to see it yet, I encourage you to make time to do so.

We hope that, by bringing exhibits of this caliber to Louisville and programming curriculum and activities around such once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, UofL will become known as a center for the arts and creative studies.

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