Arts Forum/Arts Festival

Posted on August 14, 2017

The Arts Forum/Arts Festival was an annual interdisciplinary festival held for 25 years, from 1944 to 1969 at the Woman’s College (later renamed UNCG). The Arts Forum grew out of a 1943 Writing Forum sponsored by the Department of English. The following year, music composition, art, and dance joined writing and it became a three-day event. By 1946, the Arts Forum had become a regional event, and in 1947 it gained national attention. Ultimately, the Arts Forum would draw student and faculty participants from over sixty colleges and universities. In 1954, it was renamed the Arts Festival, and had grown into a three-week event each spring. In the 1960s, budget problems and changing administration priorities contributed to the Arts Festival’s decline. The Festival was scaled back to a 10-12-day event in 1961, and was a five-day event by its final year in 1969. During its time, the Arts Forum/Arts Festival attracted national and internationally known figures including essayist and critic Lionel Trilling, poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren, and novelists Flannery O’Connor.

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