Letter from the Dean

Chuck O'Connor

Chuck O'Connor Dean of the Hixson-Lied College
of Fine & Performing Arts

Letter from the Dean

There Should be New Rules Next Week

In this year’s remarks to all of you, I would like to quote Sister Corita Kent (1918–1986) an artist, activist and one of our world’s great teachers of art. At the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and later in Boston, she taught creativity and art to a generation of established and emerging artists throughout the 60s and 70s. She created some of the great graphics and iconic images of the civil rights and Vietnam War era. Her social activism and protest art ran her afoul of church leadership eventually, but recently she has been getting the recognition she deserves with exhibitions at major museums around the country. She is the co-author of the book Learning by Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit from which these quotes were taken.

These are the words that Sister Mary Corita gave to art students entering Immaculate Heart College. Let them guide us this year.

Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules

Rule 1 Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while.

Rule 2 General Duties of a Student: pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.

Rule 3 General Duties of a Teacher: pull everything out of your students.

Rule 4 Consider everything an experiment.

Rule 5 Be self-disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow him/her. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self-disciplined is to follow in a better way.

Rule 6 Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There is only make.

Rule 7 The only rule is Work. If you work, it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.

Rule 8 Don’t try to create and analyze at the same time. They’re different processes.

Rule 9 Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.

Rule 10 “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules and how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.” John Cage

Helpful hints: Always be around. Come and go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything—it might come in handy later.

There will be new rules next week.

So to all of you in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts this year, go out there and solve for X. The answer will be different for each of us.

The Arts Matter

Sometimes people ask me, what good are the arts, what great problems or issues of national interest do they solve? Perhaps the answer is that the arts make all our other problems worth solving. The arts are important because life is about more than work – at least life as good as ours in Nebraska, in America, right now. Our forbearers in Nebraska knew this when they established music societies and art associations and small opera houses across our state. Their belief in the arts endures on our campus today as we ensure that the arts will always be strong in Nebraska.

Our Faculty and Students are Amazing

As you learn more about our college, you will soon discover what incredible opportunities we provide our students, our faculty, and our state. You will learn about how we are sending our students and faculty all over the world to perform, exhibit, and study. Closer to home our student and faculty artists are making a difference by organizing community art events and projects in Lincoln. Most importantly, our faculty and students are succeeding. Our graduates are working in Hollywood and winning national music competitions. They are our artists, designers, performers, scholars, and teachers of tomorrow.

We are 20 years old this year and the future has never looked better. Please enjoy finding our more about our college, and if you are a donor or alumnus, think of us when you plan your annual giving. Your gifts make a difference to our students and to the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Thank you,

Chuck O’Connor Hixson-Lied Endowed Dean