Music and Art unite in new college

Next fall, the APU Music Department is projected to combine with the Art and Design Department along with the Theatre, Film and Television (TFT) Department as the new college of music and the arts.


The process began with members from the provost’s office approaching faculty from each department to have them dream up a new college that would focus on the artistic departments within the current college of liberal arts and sciences.


According to vice provost of undergraduate programs and special assistant to the president Dr. Kimberly Denu, this committee made up of herself and 12 other faculty members wanted to honor the school of music with their legacy while paying homage to the success of the art and TFT departments.


“Collaboration is a major benefit for students who are gifted in the arts,” Denu said.


Faculty from the music, art, and TFT  departments came together at a luncheon last week to begin to build on their shared vision for the new college according to Denu.


“Not only are we producing great, talented students, but we are developing difference-makers who are impacting their industries for Christ,” Denu said. “Our hope is that our College of Music and the Arts’ graduates will know who they are in Christ, rather than letting the industry define them.”


A hopeful Denu looks forward to the possibilities when extremely gifted people are put together.


“The power of the collective is far more impactful than the individual and has the potential to affect communities nationally and internationally,” Denu said. “That is the beauty of this collaboration.”


Associate Dean for the School of Music Donavon Gray expressed a great deal of excitement in regard to the combination of all the art-related departments.


“I am looking forward to the challenges, but even more, I am looking forward to this collaboration of the arts, which gives us the opportunity to strengthen the university as a whole,” Gray said.


According to full-time TFT professor and Co-chair of the TFT Department Dr. Thomas Parham, the faculty of music, TFT, and art and design are planning a production of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ for late March 2013, in which aspects of each discipline will be integrated into the presentation.


Parham sees this new college as a way of letting people know the university takes the arts seriously, especially as the only Christian university with an MFA in visual art and BFAs in cinematic arts, visual arts and acting for the stage and screen.


“We want this to be a place for artists who hear God calling them toward these fields as a career as opposed to something they simply enjoy doing,” Parham said. “We want to say, ‘If you are a Christian and God is calling you to seriously pursue the arts, APU is the place to be.’”


According to Parham, most of the changes will be mostly transparent for current students. The changes will primarily be on the administrative level. There was also mention of an interdisciplinary animation curriculum in the works for the TFT and the art and design departments.


Denu sees this as a win-win situation for each of these fields of art. The new college lends itself to the seriousness the university has about the arts, which will, in turn, add to the prestige of the departments as well as additional resources and funding from donors, according to Denu.


Denu looks forward to the collaborative production the faculty are putting together to showcase the quality of each discipline.


“It will be a prime example of the beauty of the collective,” Denu said.


Chair of the Department of Art and Design Bill Catling looks forward for the merging of departments.


“The new College of Music and the Arts has the potential to provide a context for creative synergy unlike anything in APU’s history. The combined creativity that flourishes when music, theatre, film, television, art and design are together will be breathtaking,” Catling said.