• Light the Way graphic

bruce mcclung
to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA)! Our college has the dual distinction of being one of the country’s premier institutions for the visual and performing arts, and the most comprehensive arts institution in the state of North Carolina. In its Schools of Art, Dance, Music, and Theatre, and multi-disciplinary Arts Administration and Musical Theatre programs, CVPA offers nationally accredited programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. With over 1,500 students and an internationally recognized faculty of well over 100 members, CVPA is a vibrant and caring community of artists, educators, and scholars. To explore our programs, please visit our admissions page, and you can direct any questions to CVPA’s Director of Recruitment Sandra Barinowski.

CVPA offers an exciting array of educational opportunities: from study abroad opportunities to internships, from entrepreneurial experiences to community engagement projects, from an arts-based living community (Studio 91) to over 400 performances, exhibitions, productions, and masterclasses each year. Students are encouraged to attend the University’s Concert and Lecture Recital Series, which brings world-renowned artists to the UNCG Auditorium. Students can also take part in biennial cross-university collaborations and explore inter-disciplinary topics (in the past these have included War and Peace, Shakespeare and Galileo, and the 1960s). CVPA students thus benefit from both deep artistic experiences within the studio and classroom and broad inter-disciplinary opportunities across a large research university.

With the largest number of visual and performing arts programs in North Carolina, CVPA transforms lives by providing exceptional artistic and academic experiences. Our current education degree programs in art, dance, music, and theatre result in 100% job placement, and our alumni teachers enrich K-12 education across the country. CVPA is an inclusive learning community and part of a campus-wide culture that embodies access, equity, diversity, excellence, and collaboration. I encourage you to explore our academic programs and degrees, performances and events, and learn all that CVPA has to offer. Here’s hoping that your own artistic and educational path will lead you here!


bruce d. mcclung, Dean
College of Visual and Performing Arts

P.S. For the latest news about CVPA and its faculty and alumni, please see our monthly newsletters.

We often say our students get the best of both worlds. But what does that really mean for you?  It means you don’t have to choose between the high-quality, personalized studio training of a conservatory and the flexibility and well-rounded education of a public research university.  In the College of Visual and Performing Arts at UNCG, students enjoy the benefits of both.

Tyler Barnhardt, BFA Acting Class of 2015. Tyler has multiple film and television credits in the four years since he graduated from UNCG.

You will build a strong foundation in your area of artistic focus by learning from internationally recognized faculty-artists. You will have opportunities for individualized lessons and training, mentorship, and professional guidance.  You will be challenged to grow and develop your artistry so that you reach your full potential.

You will also expand your horizons through the framework and vast skill set distinctive to a liberal arts education at a large, research intensive university. CVPA students are prepared to be artists, scholars, educators, arts administrators, community builders, arts advocates, and leaders in the visual and performing arts who are engaged citizens and make meaningful contributions to their community and the world.

Choral Ensemble

We aren’t one or the other – we are both, and we can help you find your way here.

Choreography III, group forms class under the instruction of B.J. Sullivan

Throughout your college career you will form many connections who will be important to your educational and artistic journey. Faculty. Friends. Guest Artists. Audiences. Community.  Those connections will stay with you long after graduation.  The experiences you share will help to expand your artistry as you connect with a community and make a life in the arts. While we can’t predict the friends, community members, or patrons that will make a difference in your journey, we can tell you more about the faculty and guest artists we bring to campus.
Musical Theatre Workshop Rehearsal


Our faculty are here to challenge and support you. They are professional artists themselves – still active and recognized in their respective fields – who bring current industry standards and expectations into the classroom and studio.

David Holley directing “Gianni Schicchi” by Giacomo Puccini

Our Faculty Include

Our Faculty Include:

  • One of the leading art historians on the art and animation of Disney and Pixar.
  • Dancers who have performed with internationally renowned companies and choreographers such as Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Martha Graham Dance Company, Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, and Camille A. Brown & Dancers as well as many other notables.
  • Equity and SAG-AFTRA actors.
  • Artists who exhibit in museums and galleries in New York City, Los Angeles, and across the country.
  • Authorities on culturally responsive educational methods.
  • Guest lecturers and presenters at leading universities and conferences.
  • Researchers who publish articles regularly in the Journal of Research in Music Education and Animation Studies, and Dance Magazine
  • Playwrights who have created works that have been seen at The Guthrie Lab, The Kennedy Center, and numerous other theatres nationally and internationally.
  • Grammy and Tony award nominees.
  • Broadway veterans who worked on shows like The Lion King, Wicked, Escape to Margaritaville, and Prince of Egypt.
  • Musicians who have performed at or whose works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and stages across the country and globe.
  • Community builders who create, lead and support over 30 community engaged programs throughout Greensboro and the Triad.
  • Arts administrators who have held positions at top regional arts organizations like Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Cincinnati Arts Museum, Golding-Yang Art Gallery, and Playmakers Repertory

To learn more about the faculty, check out the faculty profiles or find bios via the Directory.

Guest Artists

Each year, CVPA brings over 50 guest artists to campus to enhance the instruction of our student-artist community. Whether they are rising stars or at the top of their artistic fields, they all bring their expertise, methods, and experiences to share with you through masterclasses, lectures, workshops, conversations, and performances.

Recent Guest Artists

Recent Guest Artists have included:

At CVPA, we aren’t just learners – we are doers and makers.  From your very first day on campus, you will be instantly immersed in the vibrant community of student-artists and scholars that make up our college.


You can even choose to live in our arts-themed residence hall, Studio 91, with other students who value and love the arts as much as you do.

As the premier and most comprehensive set of visual and performing arts programs in North Carolina, CVPA offers countless opportunities for you to perform, create, teach, learn, do and become. Opportunities that allow you to pursue your passion fully. Opportunities that help shape, mold, and transform you into the artist you have always dreamed of being.

From workshop and repertoire classes to critiques and studio training to ensembles, exhibitions and productions to field work and undergraduate research, you will join other CVPA students who bring their art and creative expression to life on-campus, in the greater Greensboro community and even around the world.

Beyond the classroom, studio, and lab, you can go a step further to enhance your arts experience at CVPA.  Numerous clubs, honor societies and fraternities across our four schools provide the perfect environment for you and your peers to create and perform your own works, contribute to the community and forge friendships that last a lifetime.

Current CVPA clubs and organizations include:

UNCG hosts a wide range of clubs, organizations and groups of varying interests (including the arts). Regardless of your artistic interest, we are confident you will find your passion here.

Nationally recognized for the affordability and value of our educational experience, UNC Greensboro is a hidden gem in the landscape of higher education. And, as the creative heart of UNC Greensboro, the College of Visual and Performing Arts is no different. Superior artistic instruction and endless opportunities for student immersion coupled with affordable tuition and costs are accentuated by faculty and staff tirelessly invested in your artistic and academic success – it is what makes up the CVPA student experience.

Brandon Lee

With tuition and costs lower than many other NC public universities and consistently lower than the cost of a private institution, it’s no surprise that our arts programs are highly sought after by in-state and out-of-state students alike. Financial Aid is available to all our students, and each School offers opportunities for students to apply for additional scholarships.

We realize that more goes into value than just costs and a quality educational experience. Outcomes matter too. UNCG ranks #1 in North Carolina and in the top 25 nationwide for Social Mobility. With a long history of making room at the table for marginalized voices, the university’s culture of care, student success initiatives and diverse student experiences provide a unique launching pad for our students to achieve their dreams. In the College of Visual and Performing Arts, we are actively decolonizing the curriculum and strategically recruiting a more diverse faculty and staff.

Moreover, CVPA currently outpaces most of our peers across campus as well as the public, four-year university average outcomes in both first-year student retention and the six-year graduation rate.

First-year Student Retention Six-year Graduation Rate
CVPA 82.2% 68.1%
UNCG 80.5% 59.0%
Public, Four-year Average* 81.0% 61.0%

*according to the National Center for Educational Statistics

Need more evidence?  Our School of Music was ranked #1 by Best Value Schools in their 20 Best Colleges for Music 2020 listing.

Faculty / Student Profiles

Faculty Profiles

Nikki Blair

Nikki Blair

School of Art

Chip Haas

Chip Haas

School of Theatre

Image of Dan Hale

Dan Hale

School of Art

Teresa Heiland

Teresa Heiland

School of Dance
Dance Education and Graduate Somatics

Rebecca MacLeod

Rebecca MacLeod

School of Music
Music Education – Strings

Jennifer Reis

School of Art
Arts Administration

Sunny Spillane

Sunny Spillane

School of Dance
Art Education

Clarice Young

Clarice Young

School of Dance

Student Profiles

Daysha Bullock

Daysha Bullock

Studio Art – New Media and Design

Celena Forrest

Celena Forrest

Theatre education, Music minor

Donna Franklin

Donna Franklin

MFA, Choreography

Rachael Hayes

Rachael Hayes

BFA, Sculpture & Ceramics

Chelsea Hilding

Chelsea Hilding

MFA Dance

Destiny King

Destiny King

Music Education, Arts Admin. minor

Katie Lane

Katie Lane

BFA Theatre Education

Ashley Lowry

Ashley Lowry

Music Education (choral)

Damien Miles

Damien Miles

Music Education

Valery Morales-pasten

Valery Morales-Pasten

BFA New Media & Design

Elijah Motley

Elijah Motley

MFA Dance and Choreography

Ailyn Pitt

Ailyn Pitt

Studio Art

Jordan Speas

J. Andrew Speas

BFA Acting, Minor – Musical Theatre

Elyse Smith

Elyse Smith

Music Education – Vocal

Laura Sullens

Laura Sullens

Music performance

Dr. Frank Lee McCarty, 1941-2021

Former School of Music Professor, Composer, and Author Frank Lee McCarty passed away on September 15th.

Dr. McCarty was Professor in the School of Music for 28 years from 1976 until 2004. He taught Composition, Music Theory, and Twentieth-Century Music History. He was the author of articles ranging in content from percussion and woodwind notation and advanced performance techniques in contemporary music theatre. A woodwind and percussion performer, McCarty worked extensively in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas. He was a member of the percussion section of the San Diego Symphony (1961-1971) and Timpanist of the Pacific Symphony (1969-1971). Additionally, he conducted musical theatre and church choirs. He also performed with BIOME, a mixed-media, live-electronic music ensemble that toured in the United States and Europe between 1970 and 1974. (more…)

Dr. Ana Paula Höfling Receives National Award

Congratulations to Associate Professor Ana Paula Höfling who was awarded the Dance Studies Association’s Oscar G. Brockett Prize for Dance Research for her book Staging Brazil: Choreographies of Capoeira (Wesleyan University Press, 2019).  The award is funded by the Oscar G. Brockett Center for Theatre History and Criticism at the University of Texas Austin, and honors Professor Brockett and advances its mission of recognizing the finest scholarship in theatre, dance, and performance history.
The 2021 award was made with this citation: “With its rich interweaving of history, cultural context, archival research, movement analysis, and ethnographic insight, Staging Brazil: Choreographies of Capoeira is a model for critical dance studies in the twenty-first century. This year’s Brockett Prize committee found this book to be beautifully written, methodologically rigorous, and theoretically sophisticated—a wonderful example of sharp postcolonial critique that is also willing to challenge conventional narratives of authenticity and origin. Höfling is a scholar who takes the time to allow ideas to ripen, producing an accessible book that synthesizes arguments across chapters and provides our field with an example of the best kind of kinesthetic literacy.
A dancer jumps over another dancer.

Join the School of Dance Graduate Programs!

The UNC Greensboro School of Dance invites applications for our resident MFA and MA programs to begin in Fall 2022.

The MFA in Choreography is a three-year, 60-hour program designed to develop and clarify students’ choreographic voices and to deepen understanding of dance-making as a personal, aesthetic, cultural, and social process. The MA in Theories & Practices is a 36-hour program focusing on the investigation of dance through a wide range of areas such as bodily training and cultural and social critique. MFA and MA dance students work as graduate assistants in a wide variety of roles and teach their own classes as instructors of record in their second and third years. MFA students can also receive support for a fully produced concert in the Dance Theater in the third year. K-12 teaching licensure can be added to these degrees, but more coursework is required.

The diverse UNCG School of Dance faculty is comprised of accomplished, internationally recognized artists and dance scholars. Our MFA alumni teach at various university dance programs throughout the United States, and our MA alumni have gone on to Ph.D. programs at prestigious universities.  Applications from underrepresented groups, including non-traditional applicants are welcomed.

Applications for the MA and MFA programs are now open at https://vpa.uncg.edu/dance/apply/(opens in new window) under the “Graduate” tab. The deadline to apply is November 15, 2021. Auditions in January 2022 will be virtual. The GRE is not required for entry into these programs.

For more information, visit https://vpa.uncg.edu/dance/degrees-and-programs/(opens in new window). You can also contact us at dance@uncg.edu.

Maranda DeBusk Assistant Professor of Lighting Design

Lighting the Way: Meet Assistant Professor Maranda DeBusk

In the arts, light is crucial. In paintings, light can provide depth. In music, dance, and theatre, light can set the mood. In keeping with the theme of UNC Greensboro’s recently launched fundraising initiative “Light the Way, the Campaign for Earned Achievement,” we asked Assistant Professor of Lighting Design Maranda DeBusk about how she designs light for the theatre.

Q: What is the function of Lighting Design in a theatrical production?

MD: If you think of a production like a 3D wooden puzzle, you have the script which is the outline, and you have the pieces, which are the acting, set, and costumes. The director helps to put all those pieces in order. Lighting helps pull it all together by creating an atmosphere and takes the audience members on an emotional journey by directing their focus, pulling them in, forcing them out —fading, snapping, or swirling. Lighting is the element that connects us subconsciously to a story and makes a production whole.

Q: How did you get into Lighting Design?

MD: Lighting Design is at the nexus of the creative and the technical. As a child, I was very imaginative. I loved playing pretend and making up stories, which all but streamlines you into being a theatre maker. But I also loved math and problem solving, which didn’t always line up with what I saw in the portrayal of artist types. Lighting Design gave me a space to both paint with light and to work with a computer to problem solve, and do it all in the service of storytelling. Once I figured that out, there was no turning back. 

Q: Do you have a favorite show—either one you’ve done or that you want to do— in which lighting is the big design element? (more…)

Milstein Fund for Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice

Prominent arts supporters Victoria Carlin Milstein and Ron Milstein have established the Victoria and Ron Milstein Fund for Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice. The fund provides support to bring an eminent artist to campus each year who is a leader in the field of Art and Social Practice.

“We are so grateful for such a generous and heartfelt gift from Victoria and Ron Milstein,” said bruce mcclung, Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “This gift provides our students and faculty with creative and valuable ways to deepen their understanding of the burgeoning field of Art and Social Practice.”

Victoria Milstein is a portrait artist, public speaker, and arts advocate. She has served on numerous arts and education boards, including the CVPA Board of Visitors, the UNCG Board of Visitors, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum Advisory Board. Ron Milstein is a retired corporate legal counsel and Greensboro community leader.

With the Milstein gift, the School of Art will invite emerging artists and national/international luminaries in the discipline of Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice for multi-day residencies. Guest Artists will provide public lectures, interactive workshops in the classroom, and an exhibition on campus or at Greensboro Project Space. Exhibitions ideally will be created in collaboration with students in the Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice Minor.

The fund also includes scholarships for select students minoring in Interdisciplinary Art and Social Practice who demonstrate excellence within the field of socially engaged art. Social Practice explores diverse creative strategies for social engagement, activism, and experiential art in collaboration with a broad spectrum of individuals, communities, and institutions. Currently, the minor is accepting new students. Information can be found here.

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