Oscar-nominated screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga will join UNT this fall as the first artist-in-residence at the university's newly created Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, which will provide support for faculty and other well-known members of the arts community.
Designed to support accomplished professionals in the visual, performing and creative literary arts, the institute will provide recognition for artistic contributions, an opportunity to share those contributions with the public and significantly enhance the learning environment for UNT students. The institute also will build and enhance UNT's legacy as a center for artistic expression and education.
"UNT's arts programs from music to design to writing are outstanding. The institute will enhance UNT's reputation for nurturing artistic and creative expression," says Wendy K. Wilkins, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UNT. "We are thrilled that Guillermo Arriaga has agreed to share his immeasurable talent and expertise as the first artist-in-residence at the institute. Our students will have the unforgettable opportunity to interact with one of the acclaimed filmmakers of our time."
Arriaga, winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, will be granted time as artist-in-residence to pursue creative projects, as well as share his expertise through interactions with UNT students, faculty and the wider community.
Wilkins described the artist-in-residence program as a "key feature in providing our faculty and students a unique opportunity to interact with some of the best professionals in their fields. Often, these artists will be professionals who do not normally work on a college campus, giving our students and faculty a tremendous opportunity to learn in ways not previously available."
The artist-in-residence program will feature the recruitment of prominent artists to lecture, perform and collaborate with UNT students and staff. "Artists-in-residence are recruited internationally to help expose UNT faculty and students to new teaching techniques, new ideas and new ways of thinking about the creative process," Wilkins says.
In addition to the artist-in-residence program, two to four UNT art faculty members will be designated Institute Fellows each year based on a competitive application process. Interested faculty members are asked to propose a specific project that would be completed during the one-year fellowship. Once selected, each fellow will be granted release from teaching assignments for the length of the project.
"In many disciplines, there is nothing more valuable than the time to be creative," Wilkins says. "Allowing members of our outstanding faculty to concentrate purely on the creative process will strengthen their skills, and make them even better teachers when they return to the classroom."
The Institute for the Advancement of the Arts began operations this fall under the oversight of a steering committee composed of the dean of the College of Music, the dean of the College of Visual Arts and Design and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
About Guillermo Arriaga
Arriaga's acclaimed films include 21 Grams, Amores Perros and The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones and winner of the Best Screenplay Award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005. His film Babel earned seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture, and nominations from the Writers Guild of America, BAFTA and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The film was named among the 10 best of the year by more than 90 groups and publications, including The National Board of Review, American Film Institute, The New York Times and Rolling Stone. "Babel" also received the Golden Globe Award for Best Dramatic Film of 2006. Most recently, Arriaga made his directorial debut with The Burning Plain, based on his own screenplay and starring Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger.
Arriaga, a native of Mexico City, also is a renowned novelist and the author of Guillotine Squad, A Sweet Smell of Death, The Night Buffalo and book of short stories, Retorno 201.
Ellen Rossetti with UNT News Service can be reached at Ellen.Rossetti@unt.edu.