We asked CVPA Faculty to tell us how or when they fell in love with the arts.

What was that pivotal moment when they just knew they had to be an artist, arts educator or administrator, designer, scholar, or performer? Here are some excerpts from their responses.

If you’d like to share your story of how you fell in love with the Arts, you may submit it here. We’ll be posting these on social media throughout the month of February.

Robi Arce-Martínez

Asst. Professor of Movement

I first fell in love with Theatre as a community event where people come together to share an experience to then discover that it is a powerful tool for social change.

I understood that Theatre was my calling when an audience member came to talk to me after a show to share that there was a moment during the show where she felt a release in her chest from something that was locked. She was moved to tears while telling me. That’s when I understood that as theatre-makers, we have a big responsibility with the work that we put out to the world.


Chip Haas

Theatre Technical Director

I acted in my first play in 6th, in which I was Julius Caesar because I was the best at pretending to die. I went on to take drama classes in middle school and was fortunate to have a fantastic Theatre teacher in High School, who pushed and challenged us in all areas of Theatre. I was also lucky that I grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. and we went on many trips to see performances at the variety of theatres in the area. 

Watching shows sparked a huge interest in me. I wanted to do what these awesome people were doing. I went to college, determined to be an actor. During my second semester of college, a classmate dragged me into the scene shop to help him on his honors thesis production,  and that was it. I had found my home. Building, rigging, running productions is where I realized I was the happiest—far happier than trying to perform. (Pretty fortunate,  as I was not a good performer.) 35 years later it’s what I’m still doing and what I still enjoy.

Truthfully, my original plan was to be the starting second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles by the time I was 25. Good thing I had Theatre to fall back on.


Steve Haines

Professor of Double Bass

Falling in love with music came to me as a youngin’ at Parkwood Hills Elementary School in Ottawa. Our neighbours, Sir Winston Churchill Middle School, brought over a grade 8 concert band to play in our gymnasium.  

Hearing all of the instruments together playing “O Canada” changed my life. I had never experienced anything like that before. It was like someone turned the water on in my soul.


Dan Hale

Asst. Professor of Animation

How truly amazing it would be to say that it was love at first sight, but that’s definitely not true for Art and me. But while we don’t have a spectacular “moment” story, you know the one where time seems to stand still, I’m okay with it, because that kind of love tends to burn fiercely and then fade. In truth, Art and I have had to really work on our relationship through open communication and trust over many years, and I’d like to think that I’m stronger for it. 

Early on, I really thought Art was out of my league and that any minute I would be discovered as a fraud. You know, Art can be so deep and intellectual that at times it felt inconceivable we would make a match, but I guess it’s true that opposites attract. Fortunately Art has a pretty good sense of humor too 🙂 

In our years together, I’ve learned so much about love and relationships through Art. It isn’t Art’s responsibility to make me happy, it’s my responsibility to seek out my own ingredients for happiness and share them with Art. And like anything it takes a whole lot of patience and hard work, but it’s totally worth it, and as cheesy as it sounds (and I do know it sounds cheesy, alright), I’m grateful to wake up every morning knowing that Art is in my life.


David Holley

Professor of Opera 

I knew in 10th grade that I was going to be a music major in college, and I wanted to be a choral teacher because my high school choral experience had meant so much to me and taught me so much.

My freshman year at Furman University, there was an honors recital in the fall.  A mezzo-soprano sang “Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix” from Saint-Saëns’ Samson and Delilah, and I had never heard anything so beautiful.

I remember walking back to my dorm room in tears realizing that I had fallen in love with Music!


Catrina Kim

Asst. Professor of Music Theory

I have played the piano my whole life, and I sang in church as a child. Music was a part of my faith-based identity and a part of my immigrant family’s association of classical music with discipline, education, and high culture. While I would not  consider myself a religious person now, these experiences strongly shaped how I think and feel about music. 

I fell in love with Music in college (University of Houston), where I learned how complex and diverse music-making is. At UNCG, I love how I get to constantly learn from my students’ many different ways of thinking about music. 


John Salmon

Professor of Piano

That’s a very good question. That’s like asking someone why do you like chocolate.  I began piano lessons when I was six years old.  I’ve always loved music.

When I was 11 years old my family hosted a contestant for the Van Cliburn piano competition in my home town of Fort Worth.  He played the Robert Schumann Tocatta which is one of the most virtuosic works there is and I was mesmerized . 

I asked my mother to buy the sheet music, which was way beyond me technically and musically but it drew me in. I think that was a pivotal moment.  From that moment I knew I had to be a pianist.


Lee Walton

Professor of New Media and Design

As an undergraduate, I fell in love with the printmaking studio. This became my home place where I found a community of artists. The studio smelled like ink, we listened to a lot of funk, we barbecued oysters, and we cared for one another. 

Art became a way of living that I fell in love with.



Clarice Young

Assistant Professor of Dance

Honestly, I believe I’ve always been in love with Dance. As a little girl I jumped and flipped all over the furniture, so of course my parents thought Dance and Gymnastics were exactly what I needed. Although I left Gymnastics behind, I kept going with Dance and I’ve never looked back. 

Dance always came naturally to me. I could pick up the steps quickly, perform as full out as possible, and I didn’t even mind doing the steps over and over again. I never once felt like I was “working” even when it was extremely challenging and made me question my life choices. I think it’s even safe to say that because it was a challenge, I ran after it. Somehow I could sense that dance was making me a better person and getting me closer to where I needed to be in life.

Falling in love with Dance looked like being inspired by the 80’s dance movie Fast Forward and telling my younger brother what his steps were and where he needed to dance in our living room. It also looked like having a day filled with three two hour dance classes, going to see a show later that night, and then getting back to my dorm to dance some more with my friends.

 I believe falling in love with Dance was about not giving up and following an ever growing and ever changing passion. I now know and understand dance is not all that I am, but I know it definitely continues to play a huge part in my life. For that I’m forever grateful.