Emil Kang turned a lens onto the arts at UNC


With Joy Kasson moderating, Executive Director Emil Kang outlines his goals and accomplishments for Carolina Performing Arts.

Emil Kang wants students to see the arts as a lens through which they can learn about the world and about themselves. Kang offered that assessment during a wide-ranging discussion of his role as executive director of Carolina Performing Arts during the Retired Faculty Association’s Feb. 14 meeting.


RFA member CL Kendall joins in the discussion.

Kang told the RFA members that his main goal with the arts program is to explore all ways that Carolina Performing Arts can challenge artists and audiences to develop new knowledge, new understanding and cultural depth, and to do more than just compartmentalize a performance as good or bad. Getting students to arts performances can be challenging in an era in which orchestra, chorus and the arts are getting diminished attention in public schools. But under Kang’s leadership, about a third of the audience for Carolina Performing Arts events are students, with many of them paying only $10 for their tickets because of aid from the Angel Ticket Fund.

The discussion was led by professor emerita Joy Kasson, who worked closely with Kang from 2012-2015, when she served as  the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Scholar for Carolina Performing Arts. By 2014-15, there were over 60 classes from 19 departments that were integrating CPA performances into their academic work.

The next RFA General Meeting will be on Thursday, April 11,  from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Friday Center. We will discuss the origins of some of UNC’s current problems and creative ways forward with colleagues from around the UNC system and with Jane Stancill, who  reported on Higher Education for The News & Observer for over 20 years.