A characteristic of Jesuit leadership and training that Chris Lowney focuses on as one of the primary pillars of leadership is ingenuity – the ability to adapt and to face the changes around us with confidence. Throughout their history, the Jesuits have successfully modified and changed their teaching approaches, for example, to fit the different needs and requirements of each age.
At Loyola’s College of Music and Fine Arts, we are very aware of the significant changes going on in the world around us. Technology moves so quickly that it is difficult to remain current in the latest advances. More and more, the arts are at the cutting edge of this technology. Motion graphics, digital recording techniques, and micro-technologies all have been pioneered by technician-artists who are seeking to go beyond the boundaries of the status quo. At Loyola, for example, we have recently hired a faculty member in ‘New Media,’ which might best be described as the application of modern technologies to artistic installations and animated sculpture. Our Graphic Design program is similarly advanced, and our faculty and students are renowned for their works and exhibits throughout the city.
This is a side of the arts of which few outside our field are immediately aware – yet their enjoyment of the latest animated film from Pixar or the latest downloadable creations of Lady Gaga is directly related to the technology required, indeed, created to meet the need of the artist’s vision. It is the artist who has driven these technologies and, in the case of Graphic Design and New Media, the artists are often more sophisticated and knowledgeable about the application of technology than the computer scientists that designed the equipment. In fact, the equipment has often been designed first to meet the needs of the artists, and only then finds its way into more commercial applications.
The ability to make something of nothing – to take an idea and create from that an entire universe – is a part of what it means to be an artist. Our students study and take their inspiration from the great artists of the past who did the same: Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, and many others. Through their rigorous study of the past, our students build a future. From their dedication to the present, they see beyond the everyday and into the essence of what is to come.
The adaptive genius of our students and faculty will soon be on full display. We are beginning a new year, a year which will see a tremendous outpouring of performances, exhibitions, and presentations which, I believe, will mark a new high for the College of Fine Arts and for Loyola University of New Orleans. In the coming weeks I will detail the year’s events more fully. For now I can only ask you to keep your eyes and ears open! What is to come will be astonishing and beautiful, uplifting and transformative.
That is what ingenuity means to us, as artists, and as citizens of Loyola.