The Unifying Power of the Arts

Image of Ted Mann stage, featuring digital monitors, a dancer, a choral director, and a small choir.
Photo: Rau+Barber

Gifts to CLA’s Departments of Art, Theatre Arts & Dance, and the School of Music create opportunities for students and accelerate the practices of our faculty and visiting artists. We are grateful to the 5,542 donors who gave $20.4 million during the Shattering Expectations campaign to advance the arts in—and through—CLA.

As Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities Josephine Lee says, “When we make art together now, we appreciate more than ever finding the pieces of ourselves that went missing in the time since March 2020. These pieces give us comfort in the face of loss, isolation, and disaster. They allow us to laugh or cry in public, or whisper to our companion, ‘that’s not at all what I expected.’ Art demands presence, a word that sounds like ‘presents’ but describes something that is much more difficult to come by. Art requires our energy, care, attention, and money, but gives us so much more in return. It allows us to share the most basic human experiences, gets us out of our everyday spaces, and gives us some of the best excuses to simply be—together.”


“Through the Harlan Boss Foundation Visiting Artist Program our students and visiting artists have regular, relevant interactive experiences. Each visiting artist designs how to teach and interact with our students based on their art practice. For example, artist Christina Seely (pictured in the monitor above) visited our department remotely in spring 2021 and gave a public talk and a workshop titled “Fragile Energetics: The Interplay of Art, Science + The Human Condition in the Age of Climate Change.” As a final manifestation of their participation, students produced a book titled Fragile Energetics Workshop Field Notes. Students are exposed to diverse ways of processing and developing ideas and making and thinking about contemporary art in the context of the complex cultural climate of the world today.”

Rotem Tamir, assistant professor of art

Theatre Arts & Dance

“To me dance is healing. It is a positive way to showcase all of my emotions and channel them through my body. Dance is communication, a beautiful bridge between what is said and unspoken. For today’s youth, the arts offer a constructive and creative way to interact and form connections with people you might not have ordinarily thought about. For me, the best way to create is to observe, to incorporate other art forms, and appreciate their purpose. I truly believe we are able to do all things through dance.”

Connie Pierce, recipient of the Jani Larson Dance Scholarship


“Our current time is full of division, intense anxiety, and alarming expressions of hatred. I am constantly considering the possibilities of what we can do together. What draws on the ensemble’s strengths, while pushing us to grow to the next level of achievement? What composers and texts will connect with my singers and our audiences? Focusing on not just the possibilities of sound, but also the possibilities of the individuals making the sound and how they contribute to the whole ensemble, is a daily reminder about the beauty and power of community.”

Shekela Wanyama, DMA candidate in choral conducting and beneficiary of the Stanislaw Skrowaczewski Endowment in Conducting



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