Robin Zaremski is the director of the Visual and Performing Arts Center at Millersville University. As director of this program, Zaremski is responsible for providing cultural and artistic programming for Millersville and the surrounding community.
Zaremski and her team handpick programming for the Ware Center, crafting a schedule that fosters meaningful, artistic experiences for students and community members. She seeks to facilitate learning through a creative means, outside of a structured lecture or rigid instructional format, allowing audiences the ability to engage with art on an emotional level.
“I could not live without artistic creativity in my life,” Zaremski says. “Adding a cultural arts element to any student’s learning opportunity is enriching their soul. Art gives them insight into ideas that are different than their own., a broader world view.”
Millersville University’s Ware Center is located in the heart of Downtown Lancaster City. Neighboring the historic Fulton Theatre, the Ware Center has established itself as a staple in the local arts community. Zaremski and her team seek to involve as many community partners as possible in the University’s arts programming.
“Having artistic expression allows people to express their feelings, their emotions, get out frustrations, and be able to have a way of sharing communally with people. That’s what people have missed the most. Having the opportunity to socialize in a very positive way.” Zaremski says.
In the wake of the COVID-19 lockdowns that halted live performances and crippled the arts scene, Millersville’s Visual and Performing Arts team seeks to restore the vibrant in-person performance programming.
“Number one, we want to make sure that all of our events, all of our shows, are accessible to everyone, regardless of economic or physical ability,” Zaremski says.
By lowering the ticket price point and providing free admission on a regular basis for Millersville students, Zaremski ensures that there is a low barrier to entry for anyone who wants to experience the local cultural arts programming that is available.
“We make sure that all students have the opportunity at a creative experience,” Zaremski says.
But for Millersville’s Visual and Performing Arts programs, accessibility extends far beyond affordable ticket prices. Zaremski shared an experience of inviting a group of blind and visually impaired community members to a Taiko drumming performance at the Ware Center. Prior to the show, the individuals were invited to touch the drums and experience the feeling of the instruments. Having felt the drums before hearing them in the live performance, the audience members could “see” them and experience the performance with multiple senses.
The University’s Visual and Performing Arts program receives several grants that fund salaries for the key staffing positions which help to plan and facilitate Millersville’s arts programming. Millersville Visual and Performing Arts team expressed gratitude for the grant funding that has made its way to the department.
In the academic year, 2020-21, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) awarded Millersville’s arts center three grants totaling over $150,000 of funds. Grants include PCA Arts in Education award, totaling in $137,332 which funds the South Central PArtners administrative position and residencies, PCA AOAP grant of $ 13,000 and the Cares Funds assistance of $ 1,930 supporting artist fees, and $15,000 from the Lancaster County Community Foundation for children and youth programming.
“The grant funding allows us to take these arts to community neighborhoods individuals,” Zaremski says. “The more grants we get, the more programming. Last year during COVID, we were able to offer 13 cultural arts programs free of charge to the Lancaster County schools and families in the region funded solely by these generous grants.”
For information on upcoming programs and events at Millersville, visit https://artsmu.com/.