Brandeis is currently hosting JustArts, the twice-a-year celebration of Brandeis faculty and staff artwork, from Oct. 2 to 23 at the Dreitzer Gallery. In addition to faculty and staff, postdoctoral researchers and faculty emeriti were encouraged to participate as well. The artwork ranged from a wide variety of artistic mediums, such as paintings, fabric, photographs, sculpture and more.
The event was planned by a committee consisting of the Director of Arts Engagement at Brandeis Ingrid Schorr, Associate Professor of Ecology Colleen Hitchcock, Online Infrastructure & Outreach Manager Christina Inge and Accessibility Specialist for Graduate Students Jaspreet Mahal. Schorr described the planning and motivations for the JustArts exhibition further in an interview with The Hoot.
The first JustArts exhibition honoring faculty, staff, postdoctoral researchers and emeriti work was held in 2009. Schorr began the event in order to facilitate an opportunity for this community to share their creative work with other members of Brandeis. In doing so, Schorr strived to have the event be a place where community members can “meet each other outside of [their] work responsibilities and learn more about [themselves] as people, not just as specialists in an academic field or such.”
The exhibition typically showcases artwork from 30-40 people, and this year, 33 members of the Brandeis community submitted their artwork. Many participants submitted more than one piece of artwork to the exhibition.
Schorr also shared her thoughts on how the Division of Creative Arts has evolved over the 75 years of Brandeis’ establishment. One constant throughout the years is the fundamental coursework that students in the arts take: introductory courses in drawing and painting, acting and directing, music and theory and the study of art history. Some of the newer elements to the division include coursework on making art through modern methods such as digital photography and art, and the introduction of contemporary fields of inquiry such as Black theater and ethnomusicology. In addition, the Creative Arts for Social Transformation program (CAST) was a new addition to the division that integrated Brandeis’ social justice mission with the transformative capacity of artwork. “Creative arts has always been one of the four central areas of undergraduate education,” she explained.
Schorr left the interview with concluding remarks on the exhibition and art at Brandeis on the whole: “Everyone has the capacity to be creative. You might be someone who facilitates the making of art, who understands the needs of artists and how to solve problems creatively. You might be a curator and influencer—maybe you are the person who chooses playlists and movies for your friends, or you help them decorate their room. We are all creative as children, and we still have that capacity as adults. Community art gives us insight into what people are thinking about and what they value. The people who are sharing their work in JustArts are incredibly generous. It’s like being invited to their home for a glimpse of their life. Some of them needed to be persuaded to participate and I think they are glad that they did.”