The Mesa buzzes with creativity. Cate stages two major theatrical productions every year, as well as several student one-acts and improv performances. The Chamber Orchestra, Jazz Band, Camerata, and Chorale have frequent concerts on and off campus. Planned and spontaneous drumming is a frequent soundtrack at events. And there’s always new student work in the Bruno and Hooker Art Galleries.
Much of this artistic energy is inspired by Cate’s productive and engaging arts program. In the freshman or sophomore year students take a Foundation Arts course that introduces them to different forms of creative expression. As upperclassmen, students choose electives that let them dive deeper into the medium that interests them most.
One reason Cate wants students to learn about art is that artists are problem-solvers. Each new work they make is an attempt to use a medium—clay, film, paint on canvas, words on paper—to convey an idea, a feeling, or a story. Knowing how artists solve creative problems will make students better problem solvers and teach them new ways of thinking that they can apply to math, science, business, or life in general. And the more students know about how artists think and create, the more joy and appreciation they'll find in different kinds of art.
Another reason Cate wants its students to learn about art is that even if they already dance, draw, or make music, there’s still undiscovered territory inside them to explore. A student may be a poet, a potter, or a pianist and not even know it yet. And of course, Cate also wants to nurture the creative passions students already have. Here, students find caring instruction and mentorship, and ample opportunity to perform or exhibit their work.
"The foundation arts program exposed me to a world of art that I might not have ever encountered otherwise."