University of the Visual & Performing Arts
The University of the Visual & Performing Arts (UVPA) is the only university in Sri Lanka to exclusively offer special degree programmes in the Visual & Performing Arts (Sinhalese: සෞන්දර්ය හා කලා විශ්වවිද්යාලය,Tamil: கட்புல, அரங்கேற்றக் கலைகள் பல்கலைக்கழகம்)
The origin of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts can be traced back to the year 1893, the era in which the Ceylon Technical College was established. Drawing and Design were among the first courses to be taught there.Approximately five decades later, on the 1st of October 1949, the Department of Arts and Aesthetics shifted its locality from Horton Place to Haywood College. The restructuring of the university system in Sri Lanka affiliated of the institute to the University of Kelaniya in 1980. A Special Gazette Notice formally announced the creation of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts on 1 July 2005. Sarath Amunugama was assigned as First Vice Chancellor.
The University of the Visual & Performing Art has a history spanning over 120 years. The origin of the University of the Visual and Performing Arts can be traced back to the year 1893, the era in which the Ceylon Technical College was established. Among the first courses to be taught at the college were Drawing and Painting. On 1 October 1949, the Department of Drawing and Painting moved from the Technical College at Maradana to the ‘Heywood’ building at Horton place and was subsequently renamed as the ‘School of Art’. A diploma in Fine Arts was awarded to students upon the completion of 5 years of study. Prominent painter and teacher J.D.A. Perera was the first Principal of this institution.
On 2 July 1952, Music and Dance were included in to the curriculum and the institute became named as the ‘Government College of Fine Arts’. On 1 October 1953, the Departments of Music and Dance were moved to 21, Albert Crescent in Colombo 7, while the Art and Sculpture courses continued to be conducted at the ‘Heywood’ Building. Three years after this, in 1956, this institution was once again renamed as the ‘National Institute of Arts’and it was taken under the purview of Ministry of Education and converted into three schools, namely, School of Art and sculpture, School of Music and School of Dancing and Ballet. All schools came under the administration of Dr. Stanley Abeysinghe, Dr.Lionel Edirisinghe and Dr. S.Panibharatha respectively.
As a result of the first university Act of 1972, the institution became known as the Institute of Aesthetic studies and got affiliated to the University of Ceylon in 1974. The Institute had 03 Schools and an Academy, namely : School of Art and Sculpture, School of Music and School of Dancing and Ballet, and the Ramanathan Academy of Jaffna. In 1975, the Ramanathan Academy became affiliated to the University of Jaffna.
For the first time, in 1978, 63 students were awarded the’ Bachelor of Arts’ degree. Consequently, the restructuring of the University System in Sri Lanka brought about the affiliation of this Institute to the University of Kelaniya in 1980. The special Gazette notice issued by her Excellency the (then) President of Sri Lanka formally announced the establishment of the University of Visual and Performing Arts with effect from 1 July 2005. This University was founded in order to promote and develop the Visual and Creative Arts as well as to offer recognized higher educational qualifications in these spheres of study. To the post of Her Excellency the President appointed Dr. Lester James Peiris and Professor Sarath Amunugama as the first Chancellor and Vice Chancellor respectively. The University consists of 3 faculties, namely Dance and Drama, Music and Visual Arts and Professor Jayasena Kottagoda,Professor Sanath Nandasiri and Senior Lecturer Sarath Gunasiri Perera were elected as the first Deans of the faculties respectively.
There are 22 departments functioning under these three faculties. The present Chancellor of the university is Pandith W.D.Amaradeva and the ViceChancellor is Senior Professor Jayasena Kottagoda, the first Vice Chancellor who is a product of this institution. They were elected in to office in 2008. Currently, in his successful second term as Vice Chancellor to the UVPA, Senior Professor Jayasena Kottagoda was also the first Professor, Senior Professor of this university apart from holding the post of the initial Dean of the Faculty of Dance and Drama.
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