Message from the Dean
Dean Joseph S. Lewis III
At the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, “Art” and “Community” are verbs. Ours is a bold mission, one that integrates advocacy, leadership, and education with significant social engagement and community partnerships.
Here, we explore new ways of seeing in order to create tools, methodologies and environments that lead to innovation. We also collaborate with colleagues in the fields of science, technology, engineering and medicine – etc., to further transform the way creativity is perceived, taught and practiced.
During any academic year, we mount more than 200 student performances, exhibitions and concerts; bring hundreds of Orange County K-12 students through our classes and facilities; and partner with numerous local arts, cultural, educational and civic organizations.
Many of our faculty and programs are recognized globally and are also among the top in the nation. That kind of recognition continues to attract a diverse cadre of dedicated and passionate students who leave here ready to contribute at very high levels.
Our undergraduate programs are based on the traditional liberal arts model that marries creativity with critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving and project management – all important characteristics of articulate, well-informed and productive world citizens. Inspecting the world through the lens of creative endeavors helps students understand what makes us whole, what binds us together, and what we can do to strengthen our societal fabric.
Our undergraduate students go on to become professionals in their respective fields: Dance, Drama, Music and Studio Art. At the same time additionally, many of them also become accountants, doctors, engineers, lawyers, and teachers, etc.
Those who complete our graduate programs can be found throughout the visual and performing arts arenas – on Broadway, in films and television, in galleries, on recordings, and performing in symphony orchestras. Others are equally successful behind the scenes as stage managers, costumers, scenic and sound designers, directors, producers and authors. They make a living; they make significant contributions to their field; and they win awards.
An education in the Arts plays an integral role in today’s society. Some of our greatest inventors, statesmen, and business people also had core knowledge of the Arts – Albert Einstein (concert-level violinist), Alan Greenspan (Julliard-trained clarinetist), and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (a piano major in college). If it hadn’t been for a class in calligraphy, Steve Jobs says that Mac computers would not have included multiple fonts.
Arts education is often undervalued. Many don’t realize the larger footprint that this kind of training provides. It’s more than performing on stage or exhibiting work in a museum or gallery. It’s about broad intellectual depth and breadth, healthy curiosity, and developing sustainable networks that allow our graduates to think on their feet, to solve problems, and to have a global perspective. It opens up the whole world to our students – it provides a solid foundation so they can go in any direction they want.
Isn’t that, after all, what a college education is really all about? Perhaps the next Alvin Ailey, Pavarotti, Samuel Beckett, or Kiki Smith is currently one of our students. Perhaps, a future Secretary of State is currently painting sets…
Joseph S. Lewis III
Claire Trevor School of the Arts