Celebrating 80 Years of the Artist Series at CU

Welcome and thank you for coming tonight. I would like to thank everyone in the room for their very important role in supporting the Artist Series and all of the arts on campus. I take great pride that our campus has flourished as a cultural hub, through programs like the Artist Series, celebrating its 80th year!

Every year, CU-Boulder draws the statewide community onto campus for engagement in the performing and visual arts.  On nights like this I especially think about how the arts contribute to us personally, as a campus and as a community.

Personally, performing and visual arts are powerful teachers of different cultures, perspectives, historical interpretations and philosophical discourse.  As a campus, the arts play a powerful role.

Our museums, galleries, festivals and musical performances have brought national attention to our campus and marked the university as a leader in the arts. More than 385,000 citizens come onto campus annually to take advantage of our performing and visual arts.  An additional 110,000 attend cultural outreach activities we take into the community.

As a community, these cultural offerings weave a community fabric, enrich our quality of life, and offer broad perspectives. As individuals, as a campus and a community, the Artist Series has taught us to be innovative by allowing us to think creatively.

For 80 years now, the Artist Series has been at the forefront of bringing arts to campus, and providing opportunities for students as well as the community. Many of you have heard me talk about student success as my top priority for the campus. The Artist Series not only brings internationally acclaimed artists to campus, it also has a strong educational component. These renowned artists who perform on CU stages connect with students, the campus community, and the broader community through outreach experiences such as a lecture, a master class or a demonstration. Performing and visual arts, as well as literature and poetry, are transformational teachers and provide students with unique and valuable experiences.

Another high priority for this campus is our mission, role and capacity for contributing to humanity. This includes inspiring art and creativity in our students, our campus and our community. In recent years, we have seen the footprint of the arts on campus expand, and it is important that this trajectory continues. 

The arts bring vitality and community to the campus. They inspire us and awe us. They teach us and broaden us. We could not do it without your support.  My thanks to all of you for your vitally important contributions.

Introduce Joan McLean Braun

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce Joan McLean Braun, the Executive Director of CU Presents and the Assistant Dean of Concerts and Strategic Communication in the College of Music. Joan has a long association with CU – as an alum of both the College of Music and the Leeds School of Business –  as a university employee for over two decades, and as a parent of a CU graduate.

As the Executive Director of CU Presents, Joan works with all of the performance projects on campus including the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, CU Opera, the Holiday Festival and the Artist Series. She handles all aspects of the presenting field such as artist selection, concert production, outreach and much more.

Under her leadership, CU Presents has flourished, bringing in upwards of $2 million in annual revenue. CU Presents has found a successful way to diversify our revenue, which is another one of my top priorities for the campus. This demonstrates the growing interest in the arts on campus, with the help of Joan’s leadership.

Please welcome, Joan McLean Braun.