When students learn about art, they learn about history and about genius. When they create art, they make a permanent contribution that immeasurably enriches their lives and the lives of others.
The presence of distinguished visiting artists on campus and in the classroom energizes students, challenges faculty, and enhances all the creative efforts of the University.
Private gifts particularly in the fine and performing arts, make a crucial difference in the University's ability to provide students with a superior educational experience.
The Roser Visiting Artist Endowment is an important contribution to the education of students at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Funded by a private gift from the Rosers, matched by the Chancellor of the Boulder campus, the program provides continuing funding to bring artists each year to be resident resources in one or more of the five different artistic areas in which the University has major programs.
The mission of the Roser Visiting Artist Endowment is to enrich the lives and education of students at the University of Colorado at Boulder in music, theatre and dance, fine arts and film studies, by funding visiting professional artists who have a demonstrated record of excellence and a commitment to working with students. This enrichment and interaction will be fostered by the Artists' collaboration in the creative process with students and faculty.
In the early 1990s, Jim and Becky Roser donated half a million dollars to the University of Colorado at Boulder to support the arts. Jim Corrbridge, the Chancellor at that time, matched the Roser's gift to create and endowment to provide funding for the arts on the Boulder Campus. A committee comprised of the chairs and directors of the various arts programs and the Rosers, was formed to establish a mission statement and criteria for awarding funding.
During one of the planning meetings, Jim Roser asked the committee members to suggest an artist whom we thought met the goals of the mission and an artist who would generate excitement and enthusiasm. It was determined that Liz Lerman would be the first guest artist hosted by the Dance Program in the Department of Theatre and Dance. Liz Lerman who is known for her innovative brand of dance/theatre, breaks boundaries between stage and audience, theatre and community, movement and language, tradition and the unexplored. Her work is also intergenerational and she recently received a highly prestigious McArthur Fellowship.
In 1994, Liz Lerman and members of her dance company conducted a two- week residency, which culminated in an intergenerational performance in the Charlotte York Irey Theatre, merging elders from the community and CU dance students. Prior to the dance performance, Liz Lerman spoke about her creative process and community work. She also was able to fully engage audience participation from faculty, students, upper administration and audience members from the community. People were literally dancing in their seats. It was a powerful performance and when it was over, a student who had participated in the residency came up to Jim Roser and said,"This has changed my life and I now know what I want to do (in dance)."
The successful residency and performance of Liz Lerman launched the Roser Visiting Artist Endowment. Since then the Roser Visiting Artist Endowment has introduced hundreds of nationally and internationally accomplished artists to CU students and faculty. The mission was expanded to included all the CU campuses and over half a million dollars in funds have been awarded.
The Roser Visiting Artist Endowment has made it possible for Departments of Art and Art History, Dance, Film, Music and Theatre to bring amazing artists to share, teach, perform and interact with students. The presence of an active guest artist program has enriched and strengthen all of the arts programs at CU.