Pillar Eight: Expand Our Commitment to the Creative Arts: Visual, Musical, and Literary
You with the foresight of this place have established a position where the believer artist can learn and grow…. — Jeanette Clift George, founder of The A.D. Players, upon the opening of the Morris Cultural Arts Center
Clearly, our culture is now more open to the art that engages the age-old tradition of exploring God’s ways with man. Secular ideologies have lost much of their appeal and once again people are hungering for the unifying vision of the religious imagination. — Image Journal of the Arts [i]
HBU has been conceived, built, and run as a Christian university with the ambition of sharing the Christian faith, its moral and intellectual traditions, and its glorious cultural heritage of the arts. It is beyond dispute that the Christian faith has inspired some of the greatest music, art, poetry, writing, and dramatic performances of all time. In fact, it would be impossible to comprehend the culture of the West and of the United States without knowing something of the contribution of Christianity. Just as we embrace the opportunity to pass on the moral, spiritual, and intellectual content of Christianity in the classroom and in student life, we also aspire to invite students, and indeed the whole community, to share our academic and emotional admiration for the arts and to be part of that creative tradition.
Our interest in the arts goes beyond appreciation for what has been done, but also for what is being created and for what will be created. Thanks to the Morris Cultural Arts Center, we have a theater capable of hosting outstanding musical and dramatic performances. We will develop productions of our own and will bring in others from the outside to exercise good stewardship of our facility and to give the community greater exposure to the arts. We are also building a new academic structure that will host our outstanding program in studio art and will include both instructional and gallery space.
In addition to those initiatives, we foresee an expansion of our musical practice facilities, the creation of a drama program, and the extension of artist‐in-residence programs on our campus. HBU will also create new academic programs in drama, film‐making, and creative writing and will study the feasibility of new or expanded academic programs in cinema and new media arts to better reflect the changing and contemporary landscape of those fields. In today’s world we no longer refer to “television programs”. We will also move toward the creation of both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts. Our current and potential strength in the arts compels us to begin studying the question of creating a new school of music and fine arts. Finally, HBU will begin an annual or bi‐annual writer’s festival and workshop.
It has been said that the writer of songs influences a culture more than the politician exercising power. What is surely true is that our God is a creative God who brought a beautiful world into existence and filled it with people capable of appreciating beauty. Similarly, just as we believe human beings are made in God’s image, we believe He provided the ability to create artistically as a reflection of his creative glory. The Christian university, committed to the worship of the Creator God, and thus to both aesthetic appreciation and creation, must be involved in the arts.