Two years ago, Johns Hopkins set forth to put the arts
front and center on the Homewood campus. Every vision needs
its visionaries, and now two have been put in place.
The university recently announced two senior-level
appointments to help steer the growth of the arts at
Homewood and for the greater Johns Hopkins community.
Winston Tabb, Sheridan Dean of University
Libraries, has been named vice provost for the arts,
effective July 1. Tabb, who will retain his primary post,
will serve an initial two-year term. Eileen Soskin,
associate dean for academic affairs for the
Conservatory, has been tapped as associate vice provost
for the arts, also effective July 1. She will serve an
18-month term and, like Tabb, keep her primary position.
In his new role, Tabb will oversee implementation of
the recommendations of the Homewood Arts Task Force, which
he chaired, and will convene an Arts Coordinating Council
to explore interest in extending the work of the task force
across the university.
Tabb has also been charged with developing a
comprehensive strategy for securing funds to support arts
initiatives and to build mutually beneficial relationships
with appropriate arts organizations in the greater
Photo by HIPS/WILL KIRK
"We want to get undergraduates involved with such
organizations as Center Stage and the Baltimore Symphony
and for students in general to be able to take better
advantage of the culture the area has to offer," Tabb said.
"I view my new role in many ways as a convener — to
get people together to talk and help Johns Hopkins realize
vision that the arts need to be central to the life of such
a great institution as ours."
Tabb said that he plans to meet in the early fall with
student groups and other interested parties to foster
collaboration and help determine the makeup of the Arts
Soskin will support Tabb's efforts and also focus on
more internal matters, such as working with students,
faculty and staff to enhance the visibility of existing
arts-related programs and activities. "I also want to help
develop new and exciting opportunities for Homewood
students to explore the arts on and off campus," said
Soskin, who also served on the task force. "I'm thrilled to
be given this position and to work again with Winston, who
is both a treat and an education."
The creation of a senior administrative position to
promote and coordinate the arts was one of 10 major
recommendations of the Homewood Arts Task Force, which was
formed in September 2004. Its 47-page final report, issued
in May 2005, articulated a vision to raise the visibility
for the arts at Johns Hopkins and to make them more
coherent and central to the intellectual and social life of
the Homewood campus.
Tabb said that much work has already begun.
In the area of academics, this fall the Krieger School
of Arts and Sciences will introduce its Museums and Society
Program, an interdisciplinary minor for Homewood
undergraduates. In addition to curricular and scholarly
activities within the university, the program aims to
promote meaningful connections with local and regional
Another academics-related recommendation was the
synchronization of class schedules at Peabody and the
Homewood schools to better serve students enrolled in joint
programs. In part to that end, the Homewood deans recently
announced that, beginning in spring semester 2008, the
majority of courses offered at the Krieger School and the
Whiting School of Engineering will be held in the more
standard weekly format followed by Peabody and most other
institutions of higher education.
Tabb said that the university also has begun the
development and implementation of an institutionswide
management policy for its artifactual collections. A
database, which has already been purchased, will
electronically archive the collections so that both Hopkins
affiliates and visitors can see what JHU owns and where the
various pieces are located.
While much arts-related work is under way, Tabb said
there is still a great deal to get accomplished.
In particular, he pointed to the need for renovations
to existing arts-related facilities, the development of a
comprehensive arts Web site and the creation of more
opportunities for Homewood undergraduates to study the
Tabb also plans to explore further academic
partnerships with local art institutions such as the
Baltimore Museum of Art, Walters Art Museum and Maryland
Institute College of Art.
In terms of facilities, specific plans include more
detailed investigation of the task force's recommendations
to renovate Shriver Hall's auditorium and related
performance spaces, such as the green rooms; convert the
Arellano Theater in Levering Hall to a true performing arts
space; and conduct a study to determine the need and
feasibility of building a new dedicated performing arts
facility with one or more performance venues.
Also under consideration is a task force
recommendation for the development of a funding strategy
for arts-related programs and projects, including an Arts
Innovation Fund to support creative programming.
Soskin said that part of her charge is to communicate
the current vitality of the arts at Homewood, which boasts
an array of programs and facilities that includes the
Hopkins Symphony Orchestra, Theatre Hopkins, the Shriver
Hall Concert Series, Homewood House Museum and numerous
student organizations, ranging from theater troupes to a
cappella groups. Artistic activities can be found at other
Johns Hopkins campuses, too, Soskin added, not just at
Homewood and Peabody.
"There is tons going on, but nobody knows what anyone
else is doing. We need to do a better job of getting the
word out," Soskin said. "We also can and must do more in
terms of the arts, and that is where Winston and I will
come in. These new positions are all about central
encouragement of an arts environment, with many of the
pieces already in place."
The Homewood Arts Task Force was created by Provost
Steven Knapp and charged with producing a set of
recommendations designed to enhance the visibility and
impact of the university's existing arts programs, foster a
sense of community around the arts and develop synergies
between JHU and Baltimore City cultural organizations. The
task force was focused on, but not limited to, Homewood
arts programs and facilities. Offerings at Evergreen House
and joint ventures with the Peabody Institute were also
considered. The 18-member group included staff, faculty,
students, a trustee and a community member.
The Homewood Arts Task Force final report can be found