Like beauty, art is in the eyes—and ears—of the beholder. But no matter what moves you, you’ll discover—and create—art in all its forms, sounds, and colors at the University of Rhode Island.

URI Jazz Band at Newport Jazz FestivalTake jazz, for example. This summer the URI Jazz Big Band played a 45-minute set right up front on the main stage at the renowned Newport Jazz Festival. “We’ve had the jazz program for a decade and here we are,’’ said Parillo. “It’s pretty cool.’’

Really cool. “To be on the main stage is a really, really big deal,’’ said Jared Sims, band co-director. “These kids played in the same spot where some of the legends of jazz music, like Duke Ellington, have been. To be part of the tradition is fantastic.’’ Professor Joe Parillo, chair of the music department, launched the jazz program 10 years ago. And the URI Jazz Big Band is just one of many groups and ensembles that perform on campus, at other Rhode Island venues, on tours, with guest artists, and yes, on the main stage at the Newport Jazz Festival.

You might also follow your passion, hone your craft, and take the stage with the URI Theatre Department . “You have opportunities from the get-go. You have to audition for every play. So you get better at auditioning,” said Andrew Burnap’ 13, now a graduate student at the prestigious Yale School of Drama.

“Theatre is meant to be seen,” said Associate Professor Paula McGlasson, theatre department chair. The department philosophy is rooted in performance – from the four plays presented each year on the main stage, to the many opportunities to perform and learn from other theatre majors, whether your concentration is acting, directing, design and theatre technology, or stage/theatre management. You’ll embrace the creative energy that comes from taking risks, pursue what they love, and become pros at auditioning.

Filmmakers are storytellers, and in the URI Film/Media program, you’ll tell stories amid the constantly evolving world of moving images, from film and digital video to 3D animation, game design, and new media. Students shoot and edit in class, and work together on projects throughout the interdisciplinary program. So interdisciplinary, in fact, that you can put your film skills to work on the Inner Space Center at the Graduate School of Oceanography, bringing the beauty of the worlds oceans to land-based people everywhere. We like to tell the success stories of our film/media students, like recent grad Matt DiGennaro, whose film “This is a Love Story,” premiered as an official selection at the 2012 Rhode Island International Film Festival and was screened this year at festivals in London and the U.S.

Chelsea FredriksonThe printmaking, painting, sculpture, and photography studios at the URI Fine Arts Center are among the busiest spots on campus, where you’ll find creative expression at its best. Whether you want to draw, study digital art and design, or make prints or photos or paintings, in the Art and  Art History Department, you can do it all. And opportunities to show your work abound, from the Fine Arts Center Main Gallery annual juried student show to the new Studio Blue at the Graduate School of Oceanography, a gallery showcasing the intersection and interaction of science and art. Studio Blue is a collaboration between URI art faculty and students, like Chelsea Frederickson, with scientists from the Graduate School of Oceanography and the College of the Environment and Life Sciences.

The spirit of the creative arts is alive at the University of Rhode Island. If you are called to be an artist—by writing a poem, making a sculpture, playing the sax, or bringing Hamlet to life—join us and inspire.