Overview of Fine Arts

Philosophy
We believe the arts are not merely an entertaining distraction from an over-compartmentalized modern life, but an integral, unifying, and fundamentally humanizing part of life itself.  Theatre, music, and visual arts deserve study as distinct entities, much as chemistry, biology, and physics do in the natural sciences, but just as there is biochemistry, there is musical theatre, and the arts, while distinct, work together, complementing one another and occasionally overlapping, in serving the common goal of human expression.  College may teach us to measure and calculate, to explain and justify, to organize and prioritize, but to be fully human, we must also know how to feel and express.  Jean-Bernard Bucky, the William Dwight Whitney Professor of Theatre at Williams College, contends "the arts provide direct and forceful means for expressing fantasy and irony, extravagance and eccentricity, irrationality and hope, frustration and anguish, and, indeed, failure -- qualities not often embraced by other academic disciplines."  In this way, all the areas of the liberal arts work together to form a complete person.

As is reflected in its major, the Fine Arts Department is strongly interdisciplinary, and not only within the Department.  For example, the much celebrated 1995 campus production of Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex"  (the poster alone won a Council for the Advancement and Support of Education [CASE] gold medal) was directed by Professor David Kaye, with music written by Professor Kidd, and with stage, mask, and poster designs by Professor Lewis; in addition, the entire production was a part of a larger, campus-wide symposium addressing Oedipus in music, literature and psychology, and the theme was the subject of a campus student photography exhibition supervised by Pam Fox.  As a part of the  "American Dream" symposium, the "American Dream Cantata" was commissioned from Benjamin Broening (then a graduate student in composition at University of Michigan and now on the music faculty at University of Richmond).  This cantata was composed for men's choir, piano four-hands, a narrator (H-S C President Sam Wilson at the performance here) and a selection of slides, a genuine multi-media creation that was a popular success.  The symposium also included David Kaye's production of "The American Dream," complete with a visit from the playwright, Pulitzer Prize-winner Edward Albee.

The Department of Fine Arts offers a major in Theatre or Visual Arts and a minor in Music.

For more information, see Requirements