From the Director of Fine Arts at Loyola University Chicago
This is a very exciting time for the Fine Arts program at Loyola University Chicago. A lot has happened in the last 4 years. Under the guidance and support of Director of Fine Arts, Matt Groves, we have been able to redesign every Studio Arts curriculum so that we can offer our students a more interdisciplinary experience, on par with today’s Contemporary Art trends and our mission as a Liberal Arts university. These changes were carefully studied and discussed, so that our students can interact with each division of the Fine Arts program and yet still be able to concentrate in a chosen discipline. I am confident these changes will make a huge impact in the development of our program and our students.
Professor Groves was also a fundamental piece in the creation of the new direction and mission for our Ralph Arnold Gallery, which is about to start its third year under the directorship of Advanced Lecturer of Sculpture, Betsy Odom. In just two years, the Ralph Arnold Gallery has made an obvious impact in Chicago’s Art scene, in addition to the Rogers Park neighborhood and most importantly the student community at Loyola. The Ralph Arnold has also become a site for lectures and workshops, internship opportunities for our Fine Arts majors, as well as a safe meeting point for our student community. I feel particularly proud of the work done in the gallery and I expect that it will become an even stronger part of our new identity.
The work that Professor Matt Groves has done as the director of Fine Arts will surely propel our program to a higher level. He took on challenges that were as difficult as they were important. He worked tirelessly to make sure our student opinions were heard and gave his faculty the opportunity to work together in realizing a new strategy for the future. I am thankful and inspired by his hard work, and I hope I will be able to do justice to what he has begun.
Besides making sure that the new initiatives implemented by Professor Groves are executed smoothly and correctly, my main goal as Director of Fine Arts can be summarized as what I like to call The Three R’s: Recruitment, Retention and Reputation. The Fine Arts Program at Loyola has a lot going for it: we are small, which allows its faculty to work closely and get to know our students better. There is a sense of collaboration between faculty that is harder to find and sustain in a larger department. We are made of professional artists, designers and historians who believe in their craft as makers but also as educators. We are good at what we do and we genuinely care about the success of our students.
My goal as director is to let prospective students know that this is what we do and this is why we do it; to give our current students an experience that will shape their lives whether they decide to pursue Art as a career or not, and to create a stronger sense of community among our school. I feel incredibly honored to have been appointed the Director of the Fine Arts at Loyola University Chicago. My commitment to the school, our faculty, and our students is greater than ever, and I intend to fulfill this opportunity with heart, vision and gusto.
I would like to invite everybody to the first exhibition opening of 2019/2020 season at the Ralph Arnold Gallery. Come join us for the opening reception of Past Tense, curated by Betsy Odom, on Thursday, September 6 from 5-7pm. This will be a great opportunity to meet and chat with our faculty, current students and exhibiting artists, as well as enjoying a Chicago-style hotdog (all trimmings included) on the house! I hope everyone can make it!
Rafael E. Vera
Director of Fine Arts