The Arts at the University of Maryland
The recently announced Arts for All initiative at The University of Maryland partners the arts with the sciences, technology and other disciplines to develop new and reimagined curricular and experiential offerings that nurture different ways of thinking to spark dialogue, understanding, problem solving and action. Academic programs in the arts are housed within the College of Arts and Humanities, including the Department of Art, the Department of Art History and Archaeology, and the Department of English M.F.A Program in Creative Writing, and the Schools of Music and Theatre, Dance and Performance Studies. The Honors College: Design Cultures and Creativity program explores the roles and impact of design in our societies and creative practices; we are theorists and thinkers who investigate the digital age through designing, analyzing, and making. The School of Architecture, Preservation and Planning seeks to create and preserve a sustainable built environment that promotes social justice, cultural value, resource conservation, and economic opportunity.
The University of Maryland is also home to many arts-focused or arts-integrative centers, galleries and institutes: the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, the Herman Maril Gallery, the Kibel Gallery, the Linear Gallery, the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, the Michelle Smith Collaboratory for Visual Culture, the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, the UMD Art Gallery, the Stamp Gallery, and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
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Stephanie Shonekan is professor of ethnomusicology and dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland. From 2003-2011, she was a faculty member at Columbia College Chicago and was also the director of the Black World Studies Program and the associate director of the Cultural Studies Program. From 2011-2018, she was a faculty member at the University of Missouri in the Black Studies Department and the School of Music. She became chair of the Black Studies department at the University of Missouri from 2015-2018. While at Mizzou, Dr. Shonekan created and ran various programs geared towards inclusion and diversity on campus. For example, she created a campuswide program called Citizenship@Mizzou, a mandatory program for all incoming students to the university. The program was also customized for faculty and staff. She also created The Huddle, a mentoring program for underrepresented faculty across the campus.
Dr. Shonekan moved to the University of Massachusetts in 2018 as professor and chair of the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. She returned to Mizzou in 2020 as senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Science, before accepting the position at the University of Maryland.
Dr. Shonekan earned a doctorate in ethnomusicology and folklore with a minor in African American studies in 2003 from Indiana University. Her dual heritage combining West Africa with the West Indies allows her to straddle the Black world comfortably. She has published articles and book chapters on afrobeat, Fela Kuti, Nigerian and African American hip-hop, soul music and country music. Her publications explore the nexus where identity, history, culture and music meet. Her books include “The Life of Camilla Williams,” “African American Classical Singer and Opera Diva” (2011), “Soul, Country, and the USA: Race and Identity in American Music Culture” (2015), “Black Lives Matter & Music” (2018) and “Black Resistance in the Americas” (2018). She also wrote and produced an award-winning live action short film based on the mother of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, “Lioness of Lisabi.”
American Conductor Craig Kier has received high praise for his “Tesla-like intensity” and “impeccable orchestral support” while leading performances throughout the United States and on international stages. Since becoming the Director of the Maryland Opera Studio (MOS) at the University of Maryland, Kier has expanded the footprint of the program’s activities, connecting the MOS curriculum and programming to areas across campus and beyond. In addition to his work as a conductor, his research includes the exploration of combining virtual reality with diverse musical genres to increase access to music and how such technologies can be utilized in medicine. His research has been published in the journal Pain and presented at virtual reality conferences throughout the United States.
In 2023, Kier joined the ARHU Dean’s office as Director of the Presidential initiative, Arts for All. In 2020, he was named Artistic and Music Director of the Annapolis Opera, where he continues to lead performances, programming, and community engagement activities.
Kier’s conducting highlights include performances with Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program, Wolf Trap Opera, Houston Ballet, the Brevard Music Center, Opera Saratoga the Glimmerglass Festival, Central City Opera, Opera Birmingham, Opera Santa Barbara, and the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman.