UNT opened UNT on the Square, a 2,400-square-foot leased building located at 109 N. Elm St. on Denton's historic courthouse square, on Oct. 21 as the home of the university's newly created Institute for the Advancement of the Arts and as a gathering place and exhibition space for the arts.
Oscar-nominated screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga, the institute's first artist-in-residence, joined UNT for the opening festivities and spoke about his latest movie, The Burning Plain, and the experience of filmmaking.
The celebration began with a public reception launching the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts at the Lightwell Gallery of the Art Building. The reception included the announcement of the institute's first faculty fellows, which will be chosen each year based on a competitive application process. The fellows will complete a specific project during the one-year fellowship and will be granted release from teaching assignments for the length of the project.
During the evening reception, Arriaga talked about his directorial debut on The Burning Plain, starring Kim Basinger and Charlize Theron, and about the process of creating a film. In addition, a graduate student quartet from UNT's acclaimed College of Music performed a piece by noted contemporary composer Eduardo Gamboa.
Works from UNT's P.R.I.N.T. Press, including creations from recent Hunting Art Prize winner Robyn O'Neil, is the first exhibition on display in the building.
"The Institute for the Advancement of the Arts and its new home at UNT on the Square are enabling us to continue our long legacy of excellence in the arts, providing an open door to community partnership and allowing our students and faculty to share their talent with the surrounding area," says Wendy K. Wilkins, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UNT.
In addition to supporting events for the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts, UNT on the Square could be used for poetry readings, small ensemble performances, student art exhibitions and other activities.
The Institute for the Advancement of the Arts is designed to provide time for artists to focus on their creative work. Arriaga, as the first artist-in-residence, will be granted time to pursue creative projects, as well as share his expertise through interactions with UNT students, faculty and the wider community.
About the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts
Designed to support accomplished professionals in the visual, performing and creative literary arts, the Institute for the Advancement of the Arts 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 will host artists-in-residence and support faculty fellows, who are selected by a review of projects.
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.
The institute is jointly supported by the offices of the provost and vice president for academic affairs and the vice president for research and economic development.
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.