From the Director
Bringing the world to Gainesville, University of Florida Performing Arts enriches the lives of both the university and North Central
Florida communities by presenting the highest quality artists and performances from across the globe.
Three venues fall under the auspices of the presenting program of University of Florida Performing Arts: the Curtis M. Phillips
Center for the Performing Arts; the University Auditorium; and the Baughman Center. While each is unique in its history and structure,
together they form a consortium that enriches the lives of arts supporters in Alachua and its 12 surrounding counties.
Not only does University of Florida Performing Arts have a stature in our community, through the program's dedication to sup-
porting young artists as well as new works by established artists, the development and commissioning of these projects identifies the
University of Florida as an innovator and initiator as artists and ensembles travel worldwide.
Always looking for new ways to reach audiences with limited access to the professional performing arts, the AIM Together program
established between University of Florida Performing Arts and Shands Arts in Medicine brings these professional artists on the regular
season into the health care setting. This initiative provides performances and interactive arts events to individuals who, due to illness,
age, disability and challenging socioeconomic and geographic circumstances, have little or no access to the arts.
University of Florida Performing Arts is committed to educating, enriching and cultivating patrons of all ages. University students
have access to rich culture without leaving the campus; community members enjoy and immerse themselves in the arts without leav-
ing Gainesville. As a recruitment tool for the university, Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville, Alachua County and all who have
access to this cultural mecca, University of Florida Performing Arts strives to support the University of Florida in its goal to become one
of the top 10 public universities in the United States.
Michael Blachly, Ph.D.
Director, University of Florida Performing Arts
The Promise of Tomorrow
What is Florida Tomorrow? Here at University of Florida Performing Arts, we believe it's an opportunity, one filled with promise and
hope. It's that belief that feeds the university's capital campaign to raise more than $1 billion.
The Florida Tomorrow campaign will shape the university, certainly. But its ripple effect will also touch the state of Florida, the nation
and the entire world. Florida Tomorrow is pioneering research and spirited academic programs. It is a fertile environment for inquiry,
teaching and learning. It is being at the forefront to address the challenges facing all of us, both today and tomorrow.
What is Florida Tomorrow? At UFPA, it's our pledge to support the community, faculty, students and artists. It is our commitment to
introduce and encourage the performing arts, here on campus and throughout North Central Florida. And it's our promise to future
generations to foster tomorrow's next great artists.
Florida Tomorrow is a place ...
where interest and appreciation for the performing arts is
encouraged as a way to better understand the world in which
The audience for the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields was
treated to an evening of classical music of Stravinsky, Mozart and
Beethoven. Those who attended a pre-performance discussion
at the Phillips Center with members of the orchestra also got a
glimpse into Beethoven's soul Beethoven's second symphony
was composed when he was going deaf.
"Here's this great composer about to lose what he needs most
for his passion, his life. When you know that, you can understand
the emotions he was going through at the time. The piece starts to
make sense," says Elizabeth Auer, assistant director for University
of Florida Performing Arts.
During the 2005-06 season alone UFPA hosted 74 discussions
for 3,497 people. The pre- and post-performance lectures are so
popular "people are disappointed when we have a performance
that doesn't have one," UFPA Director Michael Blachly says.
This is just one educational outreach program at UFPA. Others
include master classes with visiting artists, in-depth residency
work and classroom visits with various UF colleges. The cast of
L.A. Theatre Works' "The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial," for
instance, joined UF's Levin College of Law for a panel discussion
and master class.
Blachly has focused on making UFPA a creative home for art-
ists commissioning new works and fostering the development
of groundbreaking acts such as the acclaimed acrobatic troupe
AEROS on the Phillips Center stage.
"New works are the research product of the performing arts,"
Blachly says. "Commissioning and premiering new works carries
the University of Florida's name across the country."
Equally important are the classics that bring first-time theater-
goers, he says.
"A production like 'Cats' is an opportunity for young people to
experience theater. It may be the first time they've seen the lights
of the stage," Blachly says. "It can be what makes them say, 'I
really like this this is worth my time and money'"
Once someone discovers the thrill of live performance, UFPA's
educational outreach enriches the experience.
"When you know more about the art form, the creation of the
work, the artists, you have a much deeper understanding of what
you're about to experience," Blachly says. "It gives context to the
next two hours of your life."
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Florida Tomorrow is a day
when the performing arts are accessible to all, regardless of age,
physical or mental disability or socioeconomic status.
The 12-year-old boy had already seen far too much: a frighten-
ing diagnosis, cancer treatments, the short-lived joy of remission
followed by relapse. He wasn't interested in playing the drum
that the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company had
"He was anti-everything," recalls Deborah Rossi, director of
marketing for University of Florida Performing Arts. "It took half
an hour for him to even look at the performance. But when he
started playing the drum, it was a real transformation."
Bayanihan is one of the world-renowned performing arts
groups passing through the Phillips Center that has taken time
to visit Shands HeathCare, giving patients and caregivers alike
a much-needed respite. The effort, called AIM Together, is a
groundbreaking partnership between UFPA and Shands' Arts in
Medicine program, bringing the arts to those who due to age,
illness or disability are unable to access the arts.
AIM Together began in 2004 as a pilot project funded by the
National Endowment for the Arts and soon became a model for
programs nationwide. In 2006, the flagship program expanded to
Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Tallahassee and Tampa.
Elizabeth Auer, assistant director, coordinates AIM Together for
UFPA. She explains that its impact extends beyond the patients to
the medical staff, families and even artists themselves.
"My favorite part of an AIM Together interaction is watching the
artists transform from world-class performers to regular people,"
Auer says. "There's a moment that happens when they break the
'fourth wall' that a stage creates and begin interacting with the
people right in front of them. They have an opportunity to reach
out to someone on a personal level."
UFPA Director Michael Blachly recalls the time when STOMP,
the innovative percussion ensemble, visited Shands. After per-
forming for children on the pediatric floor, the musicians took
empty five-gallon water bottles up to the bone marrow trans-
plant floor for a more-subdued show. Blachly remembers how
lead performer Andr6s Fernandez, himself a father thousands of
miles from his children, was touched by the young patients he
"It was a powerful moment. He looked at those kids and
saw his own children," Blachly says. "That's the magic of the
exchange the arts become a bridge that allows people to con-
nect to each other. It's a moment of their day that allows the
barriers to be set aside."
For the young cancer patient who finally agreed to play the
drums with Bayanihan, he and his grateful mother were touched
in a way they never expected.
"He got to be a kid again," Auer says.
Florida Tomorrow is a belief ...
that audiences are touched, inspired, enlightened and grow
through the performing arts.
She expected "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Instead, Dianne Farb
found her preconceptions about music, rhythm and performance
- not to mention singer Bobby McFerrin blown away.
That's typical, she says, of the enlightening experiences she's
come to expect from University of Florida Performing Arts' shows.
"I hope to be transformed, to have my mind expanded. Even
shocked," she says. "After a performance, I feel like I've just been
swept away somewhere, swept away from the daily routine to
McFerrin's performance gave Farb a completely new perspec-
tive on the nature of music. His 12-member Voicestra creates
impromptu performances using only its voices. When Farb
walked into the Phillips Center, she remembers thinking, "Where
is the orchestra?" The following two hours left her in awe.
"It was just syllables, just sounds, but when he wove them
together, it formed an incredible piece of music, entirely
unplanned, un-composed. It was amazing," she says.
There's no question that magic happens when the curtain lifts
and a show begins, but pinpointing just what it is audiences expe-
rience can be a challenge. To find out, UFPA surveyed patrons.
The stories collected show the depth of the human connection to
Patrons said South Africa's Soweto Gospel Choir empowered,
enlightened and uplifted them. Others who watched L.A. Theatre
Works' "The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial" praised it for its
intellectual stimulation. Performers introduce audiences to cul-
tures and countries, foster pride in their own ethnic heritage and
sometimes even forge bonds within the audience itself.
One young musician traveled from Tampa for violin virtuoso
Joshua Bell's performance and waited in line to meet him. Unable
to find the words he wanted when he finally reached Bell's table,
he settled for an autograph. Back in the parking lot, however, he
had a change of heart and returned to the University Auditorium.
He waited in line another hour to tell Bell what he didn't have the
courage to say the first time that Bell had been his inspiration
to become a musician. It was a moment of connection between
artist and audience.
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Our Vision of Tomorrow
The impact of an arts experience is what happens to an audi-
ence when the lights go down and artists take the stage and
the cumulative benefits to individuals, families and communities
of having those experiences available night after night. Through
facial expressions, body language and audible reactions, an audi-
ence interacts with performers. There is no mistaking the silence
of rapture during a concert, the moment of shared emotion in
a theater when a plot takes a dramatic twist, or the post-perfor-
mance buzz in the lobby.
Live performances have an intrinsic impact. Captivation
is the lynchpin. It is the degree to which an audience is
absorbed in a performance to the exclusion of all else.
Good artists can make a person lose track of time.
"You have these moments where nothing else
matters anymore."- Kathleen Porter, patron,
University of Florida Performing Arts
Performing arts provide intellectual stimulation.An
audience can be engaged intellectually, challenged and
provoked.Artists can make an audience think.
"Classical pieces can bring home past memories and
connect your thoughts to other things."
- Shane Runyon, patron
Performances are a conduit for transmitting feelings,
beliefs and values between the creators of the work and
their audience. Emotional resonance is an intrinsic benefit
of the experience, regardless of the nature of the emotion
- whether joy or pain.Artists can make an audience feel.
"I feel both relaxed and excited when I leave a
show." Fei Long, patron
Some performances have a spiritual value to an audience.
They inspire and uplift.An artist can empower.
"It's a sort of spiritual experience of appreciating
the human capability of going above and beyond the
mundane." Les Thiele, patron
Aesthetic growth may not be the outcome of perfor-
mances, but artists can change people's feelings about art
forms and cultures.Artists can make an audience grow.
"The performance addressed painful issues in a way
that left me excited and inspired about life."
- Rev. Ruth Segal, patron
Performances also have a social value in connecting an
audience.Artists can make a person belong.
"It gives me something to talk about with my
husband. It's a connection." Audrey Clark, patron
Here at the University of Florida Performing Arts, we look for-
ward to Florida Tomorrow. It's a place were creativity is inspired.
It's a day when the arts are enjoyed by all. It's a belief that the
performing arts can touch souls and enrich lives.
We invite you to help make this vision of Florida Tomorrow
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