Director’s Blog

Welcome to the Division of the Arts Director’s Blog!

Portrait of John Baldacchino against a leafy green backdrop
John Baldacchino, Director of the UW–Madison Division of the Arts. Photography credit: Aliza Rand

My journey in the art world goes back to when I was a child. Yet it became a calling when I qualified as an art teacher in the early 1990s, teaching in a small classroom, in an inner-city public school with pupils whose own life experience had a lot to teach me. Amongst others, this experience taught me that art is not simply a useful and important subject in the curriculum, but it forms part of life — everyone’s daily life, where whatever we do and whatever we desire and make, comes to us in one way or another, in the plural word “arts”.

While I have written many pages on the subject, here I want to reflect on issues that emerge as I work with UW-Madison’s community of arts practitioners. I will do so through my own engagement with the arts: as an artist; as an educator of artists and art teachers; and as someone who has dedicated years of academic work, research and writing to the philosophy of art. As I throw in ideas and open a dialogue, I want to tease out ideas, provoke thought, and perhaps gently challenge accepted and expected norms that are usually related to the arts.

– Dr. John Baldacchino, Director of the Division of the Arts

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