The Arts Are Integral To a Great University
Wilkes University wants to be one of our country’s finest small universities. We will be unique by offering the programs, activities, and opportunities of a large university, in the caring, mentoring culture of a small college. Recognizing that we cannot be a comprehensive university without a commitment to the arts, and that we can’t provide an effective liberal education without students experiencing the arts in all forms, today we are committed to investing in the literary, performing, new media and visual arts.
The arts have always been integral to a Wilkes education, occupying a special space on campus. We celebrated that enduring commitment during the fall semester when we marked the 50th anniversary of the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts. That evening we celebrated some of the special moments created at the Darte Center since it opened in 1965, while we enjoyed performances of today’s students in their vocal, instrumental, dance and theater ensembles.
Nowhere is our arts commitment more evident than in our plans for the Sordoni Art Gallery. The University is creating a new home for the gallery at our newly acquired property at 141 South Main Street.We are transitioning the Sordoni from a model in which we curate and collect artwork to become a high-end exhibition gallery curating and showcasing traveling shows that will provide a much wider variety of exhibits for our students and community members to enjoy. The plan aims to make the Sordoni Art Gallery the leading destination for showcasing the visual arts in the region.
The literary arts are celebrated year-round at Wilkes. On the graduate level, faculty, literary agents, alumni, and students of our low-residency creative writing program travel to campus from across the country twice a year for workshops, lectures, craft classes, and readings. The English department’s Allan Hamilton Dickson series brings some of today’s best writers to campus. Our undergraduates can interact with those writers in workshops and informal conversation.
Never wanting to miss an interdisciplinary approach to the arts experience – this spring we’ll observe the 400th anniversary of the passing of William Shakespeare. Performances of his comedy Twelfth Night, and musical performances of works from the period will mark more than four centuries of the Bard’s influence.
At a time when the arts are under siege at many educational institutions, I am proud to share with you that the commitment to the arts continues to be a priority at Wilkes. We shall never lose sight of its importance in educating our students and enriching the community.
Patrick F. Leahy
Wilkes University President