Dean's Welcome

I am happy to welcome you to Arts at Trinity.

For me to speak on behalf of the arts is both professionally and personally interested. I operate under their influence. I cannot help myself. I believe they are one of the greatest of educational tools since the arts employ a common language, accessible to all. Music, dance, painting, photography can be appreciated and enjoyed by everyone – rich or poor, from here or there, young or old. At Trinity, arts activity is robust. This should not surprise us. Curious, bright young people tend to be creative. Everywhere we turn we see students organizing among themselves to perform, and not just art majors. History majors perform in musicals; singers of a cappella groups study economics; engineers paint; and their friends who are sociologists and English majors come to their openings. Students organize a hip hop festival for themselves and the city of Hartford that has become wildly successful. Others make documentaries and shoot videos.

Concentrating on the arts just at this moment in Trinity’s history makes sense given our cosmopolitan cornerstone aspirations. Our commitment to urban and global studies, our work in the local community, our stake in having students study abroad, and our efforts to bring more international students back here to Hartford -- all testify to the ways we’re attempting, as our mission statement puts it, “to free the mind of parochialism and prejudice.” What better vehicle than the arts to spring us from the accidents of our birth and make us truly cosmopolitan, freer to roam? If we are going to have our students study cities all over the world, how can we not study their art, their organization of space, the Forbidden City, the Parthenon, the Coliseum, the Pyramid of the Sun? Intellectually, there is no stronger link than that between great cities and their expressive arts. We recognize these cities for their buildings; we understand them through their art.

I believe the arts transcend time and ignorance; sometimes they are so powerful they can make us pity someone other than ourselves; or transport us to other worlds, better than the one we live in, or worse – without our ever leaving our seat. Whether in an audience of 180, or 1,800, or by yourself, the art you watch or listen to makes you know – palpably, body and soul -- you are not alone and that for the time you are under the influence, you may forget time altogether.

I know the Trinity faculty and students welcome Hartford to our performances, galleries, and public lectures. And the faculty and students are eager to know what is happening in Hartford. We very much hope that this site will facilitate exchanges – of audiences and ideas. There can never be enough art!

Rena Fraden
Dean of Faculty
Keith G. Funston Professor of English and American Studies
Trinity College