By Madison Pottebaum,
College of Arts and Sciences Junior
With a vision to bring the arts more fully to students and the wider Omaha community, Creighton University debuted the Fine and Performing Arts Department in 1965. Now, five decades later, a comprehensive arts community has blossomed, with recognized faculty engaging students in a variety of programs.
“The arts have a very special place historically in Jesuit education, and our department offers a variety of outstanding opportunities for students and is a leader in the arts community,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Bridget Keegan, Ph.D.
From its humble beginnings offering a few select programs, the department now boasts a full compilation programs in theatre, sculpture, ceramics, dance, music, photography, painting and printing. The department recently added instrumental ensembles (symphonic band, University orchestra and chamber groups) and a BFA in Musical Theatre, said Frederick Hanna, DMA, a faculty member at Creighton for 19 years and chair of the department.
These opportunities are not strictly for fine and performing arts majors. “All students from across campus can participate in the choirs, band and orchestra for credit,” Hanna said. He added that all students also are welcome to audition for theatre productions or enroll in academic courses.
At the center of every program lies the Jesuit value of cura personalis, or care of the individual. The department’s mission statement calls the arts “the voice of the human soul,” inspiring us to know more “about ourselves, each other and our place in creation.” Hanna said the arts enable students and professors to engage in deeper dialogue.
“At Creighton, my FPA professors have really gotten to know me,” said senior Alexia Lorch, a musical theatre major from Phoenix. “They are a constant wealth of knowledge to seek advice from. They always make themselves available.”
Lorch added that her professors give her not just valuable information about her craft, but give her the confidence to believe she can truly succeed as an actor in the real world.
With its continued success, the Fine and Performing Arts Department celebrates its 50th anniversary blessed with rich tradition and a promising future. Those elements will be on display Dec. 2-5, as the department presents its biannual production of the cherished Christmas tale, “The Nutcracker.” “The Nutcracker” tradition began at Creighton in the early years of the department in the 1960s. This year’s production features dancers from Creighton’s Dance Company and younger dancers from around the Omaha metro area.