Arts and Creativity

Arts Initiative highlights Stanford’s strengths in imagination, innovation and interdisciplinary thinking

Enrique Chagoya painting

Art Professor Enrique Chagoya's Illegal Alien's Guide to America was part of the "From Their Studios" series, sponsored by the Arts Initiative.

“Art + Invention” was chosen as the programming theme for 2009-2010 by the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa), the programmatic hub of the Arts Initiative. The theme highlights the university’s strengths in imagination, innovation and interdisciplinary thinking.

The Arts Initiative infuses the arts into the fabric of the university and encourages creativity in all disciplines. The initiative has three areas of programmatic focus: Arts, Science and Technology; Arts and Humanities (in collaboration with the Stanford Humanities Center); and Global Arts. Its support comes through funding for visiting artists, grants for curriculum and event development and opportunities for student engagement with the arts on and off campus.

In 2009, “Art + Invention” showcased projects in the Art and Art History Department, the School of Engineering, the Human Biology Program, the Music Department and the Creative Writing Program, and at organizations such as the Cantor Arts Center, Stanford Lively Arts and the Institute for Diversity in the Arts

For instance, the Cantor Arts Center offered “From Their Studios,” which highlighted faculty work in traditional and new media. Other Arts Initiative-sponsored programs included:

Among the artists in residence was Gwyneth Lewis, the inaugural National Poet of Wales. As the arts writer/practitioner fellow at SiCa and the Stanford Humanities Center, Lewis joined 22 humanities fellows working on projects in history, literature, philosophy and other fields. Also in residency was sculptor Reuben Margolin, who conducted interdisciplinary workshops with the sculpture program in the Art and Art History Department and the Product Realization Lab in the School of Engineering.

Among the curriculum innovations SiCa supported is the Stanford Graphic Novel Project, which brings together students from Creative Writing, Arts and Design to create a full-length graphic novel. In 2009, the project created Virunga: Inside Africa’s Oldest Park. SiCa also supported "Design for Exploration," taught by Art Department Lecturer John Edmark in collaboration with the Exploratorium in San Francisco.

Students continue to benefit directly from SiCa through the popular Off the Farm program. Off the Farm purchased 1,612 tickets for Stanford student to attend, for instance, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Boris Godunov at the San Francisco Opera and Tutto Dante at the Davies Symphony Hall. Also under SiCa’s auspices, five undergraduates worked in arts administration at the Public Theater of New York, the San Francisco Exploratorium, Stanford Jazz Workshop and 1stAct Silicon Valley in San Jose.

In 2009, work also continued on the Bing Concert Hall, which received design approval from the Board of Trustees. Named for Helen and Peter Bing, the facility will meet the latest acoustical and technical standards and is designed to host a range of musical groups, from small chamber ensembles to a full-size orchestra.