Experiencing the creative arts is a fundamental part of knowing ourselves as humans and of understanding those different from ourselves.
-The Future of the Arts at the University of Chicago
The cast of Raisin, Court Theatre, from the 2006-7 season. Photography by Michael Brosilow.
The University of Chicago has a distinctive approach to the place of the arts and culture within our intellectual lives. Art-making at Chicago is thoroughly integrated with scholarship and occurs at all levels-among the faculty, the graduate students, and perhaps most particularly, the undergraduates, who look to the Division of the Humanities for many of the ideas that drive their creativity.
Faculty hired because they are artists, scholars, or both, exemplify this commitment. The Department of Visual Arts comprises seven full-time faculty who are recognized in the fields of photography, sculpture, painting, performance, and video, not to mention a robust visiting artist program that provides a constant flow of new ideas. The Department of Music,long renowned for composition by figures like Ralph Shapey and Leonard B. Meyer, is sustained today by three award-winning composers. Likewise, our Committee on Creative Writing is bolstered by a proud past defined by such former faculty as Thornton Wilder and Richard G. Stern, and it continues to attract writers whose work is energized by critical conversations with other Chicago scholars. Approximately thirty other Humanities faculty members are active in the arts. David Levin, for instance, is a scholar of nineteenth-century German opera as well as a dramaturg, most recently for the San Francisco Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago; Thomas Pavel, a distinguished scholar of French literature, is also a published novelist in France; and Malynne Sternstein, a scholar of Czech literature and European modernism, also makes animated films.
We hold the view that reading texts, viewing works of art and film, listening to music, studying languages, and thinking critically about all of them, should go hand in hand with the work of creating new art. Look to the Humanities Events Calendar and the Arts at Chicago for a full account of the arts on campus, including complete listings of the University's professional arts organizations (the Court Theatre, the Smart Museum of Art, the Renaissance Society, and University of Chicago Presents), as well as student arts groups and the many other sources of programming in film, performance, and other fields. Our In the Community page includes information about the Division's relationships with cultural and arts institutions in Hyde Park, the South Side, the city, and beyond.