Wednesday, February 1, 2023

UNCW Office of the Arts postpones fall shows as university reports nearly 400 positive Covid-19 tests

The UNCW Office of the Arts website showcases postponed and canceled events this fall as Covid-19 continues to surge locally, bringing 398 positive tests to the university during the first week of school (Port City Daily/Screenshot)

WILMINGTON — UNCW Office of the Arts announced its roster of programming for the 2021-2022 UNCW Presents season two weeks ago — featuring over a dozen concerts, dances, and literary and theatrical performances. Now, with the rise of Covid-19 cases on campus, the office will delay programming until November, according to a letter signed by Jeanine M. Mingé, associate provost for High Impact Pathways, Community Partnerships, and the Arts.

“Earlier this year we were hopeful that our 2021-2022 season would proceed with precautionary measures in place,” Mingé wrote. “However, the health and safety of our community is our priority.”

RELATED: ‘Fostering a sense of connection’: UNCW gets back to in-person events with new season of arts programming

As of Thursday afternoon, nearly 400 cases were detected among university students, staff and faculty since classes started Aug. 18. Currently, 174 cases are attributed to off-campus students and 217 to on-campus students; seven faculty and staff have tested positive, according to the UNCW Covid-19 data dashboard.

Since Monday, Aug. 23, 218 positive cases were added to the dashboard: 122 on Tuesday and 96 on Wednesday — both topping out case numbers from early in UNCW’s fall 2020 semester.

The campus has 150 quarantine and isolation beds available; as of Thursday, 64% — or 94 — were in use. That’s up from the 33 beds utilized as of Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Chancellor Sartarelli announced earlier in the week, for the time being, all UNCW meetings, happenings and events would be canceled, postponed or moved to virtual platforms, in an effort to keep cases at bay. UNCW Office of the Arts canceled its first event of the year, a Wilmington Latin Dance Party, Thursday. It’s first show back at Kenan Auditorium was scheduled for Sept. 10, featuring songwriter Scott Alan and special guest Shoshana Bean.

All shows through Nov. 3 have been postponed. Mingé noted in her letter “some performances may be rescheduled, some may be canceled entirely.” 

UNCW Office of Arts administration is aiming for the season to resume on Nov. 4 with a “hybrid virtual/in-person panel discussion” with author Sandra Cisneros, who wrote “The House on Mango Street.” Cisneros’ talk will coincide with UNCW’s Writers Week, hosted by its creative writing department, should all go according to plan.

The chancellor announced officials would revisit the pause in events — as well as whether to lift the moratorium on non-residential visitors coming to campus residence halls — on or before Sept. 17. Data, as well as shifts and changes in the Covid-19 variant, will help inform decisions.

Until that time, Kenan Auditorium will remain closed except for student-based programming and learning, according to Mingé. “We will be following UNCW policies/guidelines regarding the possibility of future closings,” she wrote.

Anyone who has purchased a ticket affected by the postponements and/or cancellations of events can contact or 910-962-2226. 

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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