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Sept. 8, 2023

Arts MSU to put 'creativity at the heart of all we do'

Headshot of Teresa Woodruff
Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., interim president of Michigan State University.

Michigan State University sets the stage for an all-in approach to the arts as a key component to creating a stronger community, economy and society with the launch of Arts MSU. This is MSU’s first unifying presence for the arts on campus and the effort spotlights diverse arts happening across campus through a cohesive mission, vision and brand.


MSU is lauded for its transformative impact on higher education, but this moment marks the most substantial commitment the university has made to uplifting how the arts have transformed MSU.

“Our university plays an essential role in advancing society through the arts, cultivating the next generation of creative minds and leading through innovation, fostering community engagement and shaping a more vibrant world,” said MSU Interim President Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D“The arts bridge cultural divides, encourage critical thinking and inspire social change, integrating and intersecting with MSU’s greatest strengths to create experiences with the arts that are uniquely Spartan.”

Headshot of Rema Vassar.
Rema Vassar, chair of the MSU Board of Trustees.                                                                                 

As part of Arts MSU, the university created a dedicated website a hub for exhibitions, performances, events, public art, academic programs and more. The website also captures stories that illustrate the value and impact of the arts, highlighting MSU student and faculty perspectives, uplifting artistic work and research on campus and demonstrating the broad reach of MSU’s arts efforts across the state.

The website and brand launch the same day the arts are being celebrated across campus.

During Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, the board and administration shared a new plan that highlights remarkable works created by faculty and students on MSU’s campus. The plan will rotate presentations of art in the boardroom with the first honoring the legacy of former university president, Clifton Wharton Jr., and his spouse, Dolores Wharton — two fierce advocates for the arts on campus and collectors of faculty works.

Later Friday, campus leaders, students and community members will celebrate the fall exhibition openings at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum representing partnerships with Beal Botanical Garden, Athletics, the Department of Theatre and more.

“At MSU, we believe creativity is integral to learning and critical thinking. Our campus is more inclusive, innovative, and inspiring, and beautiful because we prioritize the arts," said Board Chair Rema Vassar, Ph.D. "Arts MSU captures the essence of our campus-wide arts strategy while allowing accessibility and engagement to the Spartan community."

Headshot of Thomas Jeitschko.
Thomas Jeitschko, MSU interim provost.

Arts MSU elevates and amplifies the arts on campus by weaving together the goals and objectives outlined in the university’s arts strategy, a framework that centers arts and creativity at MSU by integrating them into the university’s educational experiences, research activities and campus culture. This strategic plan for the arts was shaped by a collaborative process in 2019 and implemented in alignment with the university’s strategic plan in 2021, which described the arts as essential in the pursuit of knowledge.

“At MSU, the arts are integrated into our teaching and learning, research and scholarship, and outreach and engagement missions,” said Interim Provost Thomas Jeitschko. “As a leading global research university, the skills we gain from engaging with the arts — like creativity, empathy and curiosity — add essential components and perspectives to help Spartans tackle the world’s most challenging problems.”

Located in the center of Michigan, the campus also serves as a point of access to the arts for the entire state. Generations of local, regional, and statewide visitors have experienced their first concerts, theatre performances, art exhibitions, and more at MSU. With so many stakeholders on and off campus, the creation of Arts MSU was by necessity a collaborative, community engaged process.

Headshot of Judith Stoddart.
Judith Stoddart, vice provost for University Arts and Collections at MSU.

“Arts MSU puts creativity at the heart of all we do — we’re giving vitality and vibrancy to the groundwork we’ve been laying for years on this campus through the arts strategy,” said Judith Stoddart vice provost for University Arts and Collections “And by building this collectively, what we’ve created is an approach that is truly reflective of how the arts function on this campus — they bring people together.”

For more information about the arts on campus, visit the new website at



Five pride points for the arts at MSU

1.    MSU’s 2,500-acre campus is home to over 800 works of public art.

2.    The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum was designed by Zaha Hadid, the first woman to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize, and is the architect’s first free-standing building in the United States. The museum is also home to the largest collection of Zaha Hadid Design works in North America.

3.    Wharton Center is one of Michigan’s premiere performing arts centers, bringing world-class performances across various art forms, including theater, music, dance, direct-from-Broadway productions and more.

4.    MSU is a national leader in collegiate theatre production and set design in part thanks to its state-of-the-art, 9,000 square foot scene shop, which allows for two full production sets to be built simultaneously.

5.    In 2021, renovations to the Billman Music Pavillion increased the size of the facility by over 40% and merge a state-of-the-art environment while celebrating the history of the original College of Music 1939 building constructed through the Works Progress Administration.

Five upcoming arts events at MSU

Swing Dance

Sept. 15, 8 p.m.

MSU Jazz is back for the fall semester with three jazz orchestras performing swing and the repertoire of the great jazz masters in this high-energy concert.

Homecoming Performance: And Those Spartans Play Good Ball

Sept. 22 from 2 to 6 p.m. and Sept. 23 from 12 to 4 p.m., Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Experience a performance-installation work by the MSU Department of Theatre’s artist–in-residence mike durkin focused on the intersection between sports, art and community building during homecoming weekend.

Music and the Garden: Piano, Winds, and Strings

Sept. 24 from 1 to 4 p.m., W. J. Beal Botanical Garden

Enjoy an interactive experience with music, art and science in the heart of MSU’s campus. The Beal Botanical Garden and the College of Music partner to present this free, family-friendly concert featuring hands-on art and science activities and tours of the garden following the performance.

Midjourney AI Art Workshop 1: Introduction to Generative AI Art

Oct. 1 from 1 to 3 p.m., MSU Library Digital Scholarship Lab

The first of a series of workshops presented in collaboration between the MSU Museum and the MSU Library, this session will introduce the fundamentals of generative AI art.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Oct. 3–8, Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Help Wharton Center kick off their Broadway season with Academy Award® winner Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork.

See all upcoming events at

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