Arts Society Celebrates 25 Years of history and the contributions of CVPA Dean Joe Scartelli
The light from the spring sunset filtered through the windows of the Covington Center Atrium, casting its glow on the Radford University Arts Society 25th Anniversary Reception. Attendees mingled and laughed. It felt like a gathering of old friends.
For the past quarter century, the members of the Arts Society have gathered before university arts events to support students in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). The silver anniversary celebration fell on Wednesday, April 16, before a performance by master jazz pianist Chick Corea in Bondurant Auditorium.
The Arts Society’s mission is to support creativity, award winning talent, performances, community outreach, and student scholarship. Members do so by generously donating their time, money and support to CVPA.
RU President Penelope W. Kyle offered her thoughts on the monumental success of the society during the reception.
"Because of your contributions, students who come to Radford to pursue their muse find something wonderful: a culture that embraces and supports the arts," she said. Kyle, a self-professed fan of Chick Corea, also noted how excited she was to see such a master artist appear on campus.
"Through CVPA efforts, we enjoy world-class performances that always go above and beyond our expectations," she said.
According to CVPA Dean Joe Scartelli, because of member support and events like that evening's reception, the Arts Society continues to provide over a hundred scholarships for young artists each year.
"It's been 25 years since we started this Arts Society," Scartelli told the crowd. "Some of you were here. We started with almost nothing. But it continued to grow every year, in both good years and bad years, economically speaking."
The audience was shocked when he announced that over the life of the Society, more than six million dollars in scholarship money has been raised and awarded to students.
Kyle offered a personal salute to the dean, who is stepping down from his post later this year to return to the classroom.
"Joe, you have done an absolutely perfect job in building a college that expects excellence and exceeds expectations. Thank you for all you do and all you have done," the president said.
Scartelli was instrumental in the creation of the Arts Society. In his first year as dean, he organized a benefit before a CVPA-hosted performance of “La Boheme” by the New York City Opera Company. With the help of faculty, alumni and friends, that benefit grew into the Arts Society tradition.
Scartelli also recognized the hard work of the Arts Society Leadership Committee chairs in ensuring years of success: the late Ken Bondurant, Greg Rooker, Rosalyn Lester and current chair Myrl Jones.
To cap of the festive reception, Department of Music Chair Al Wojtera offered one last toast to Scartelli, on behalf of the CVPA faculty.
"The chairs could not do our jobs without the support we've gotten from Joe," Wojtera said. "Your work and that of the Arts Society have enabled us to serve the students as best as we can.