Today the Program in Creative Writing is visible and highly regarded because of the individual reputations of its faculty and its size; it is the only one of our programs that approaches a critical mass. For the other programs to acquire greater prestige inside and outside the University, they must both enhance their levels of excellence and increase their size. Increased support and funding alone cannot guarantee success, but they can help facilitate greater participation and more high-quality achievements on which the programs will build their reputations. Princeton must do more than support excellence; it must also provide the creative and performing arts with an organizational structure and physical space within the University that makes them visible to the Princeton community and the outside world.
The University Center for the Creative and Performing Arts will help to achieve this goal in two different ways. It will, for the first time, provide the arts with a prominent voice and presence all their own on Princeton’s campus. It will be an academic unit that can stand alongside the University’s other departments, centers, institutes, and schools. Second, the Center will have its own pages in the Undergraduate Announcement and other University publications, and it will be able to draw together Princeton’s academic options in the arts so that they are visible and accessible to every interested student.
The Center cannot succeed, however, unless the creative and performing arts have a proper physical home on campus. The Allen Committee rightly urged that Princeton’s initiative in the arts must include a substantial investment in new facilities, not merely to house the expanded programs but to give the arts a visible place on campus—one that makes Princeton’s commitment to the arts clear to the University and the world.