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Music Professor Appointed Director of Arts for All

By Kelly Blake

University of Maryland School of Music Associate Professor Craig Kier has been appointed director of Arts for All, effective Sept. 1.

As director of the campuswide initiative, Kier will be responsible for raising the visibility of the arts disciplines at UMD, expanding student access and engagement with arts programming, growing innovative partnerships with science and technology disciplines across campus and building community connections that utilize the arts to promote equity and justice.

“Craig’s record of collaboration across campus, such as his work exploring the intersection between the arts and virtual reality, made him a great pick for the position,” said College of Arts and Humanities Dean Stephanie Shonekan. “He is committed to the mission of Arts for All and has excellent ideas for the next chapter of the initiative.”

Arts For All, which launched in 2021 as one of President Darryll J. Pines’ five bold actions to “move Maryland forward,” aims to leverage the power of the arts, technology and social justice to collaboratively address societal challenges.

A self-described “believer in the power of the arts to connect everyone together,” Kier wants to have people more readily talking about the arts as a central part of what we do at Maryland.

“I am committed to deepening connections to the entire community and making sure that Arts for All is a tangible source of pride for the university,” he said.

His research includes the exploration of combining virtual reality with diverse musical genres to increase access to music and how such technologies can be utilized in medicine. His research related to the use of VR representations of artistic performances to reduce hospital patients’ need for drugs to control pain and anxiety has been published in the journal Pain and presented at virtual reality conferences throughout the United States.

Kier has served as director of the Maryland Opera Studio at UMD since 2014, connecting its curriculum and programming to areas across campus and beyond. He will transition to the role of adviser. Since 2020, he has also served as artistic and music director of the Annapolis Opera, where he continues to lead performances, programming and community engagement activities.

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