Center for Christianity Culture and the Arts to launch next year
Biola plans to launch a new Center for Christianity Culture and the Arts in the next year with the help of a $750,000 grant from the Fieldstead and Company organization, provost David Nystrom announced at a President’s Administrative Council press conference on Oct. 4.
Biola students can expect a launch in the 2013-2014 school year, but the university hopes to start events and activities this school year, according to Nystrom.
Fieldstead Foundation funds CCCA
Although tough economic times have caused many schools to suffer, Nystrom assured that the new CCCA is not a stretch for Biola.
“None of this comes out of tuition dollars — it is all being funded by a grant,” he said.
The grant comes from the Fieldstead and Company organization. Founders Roberta Green Ahmanson and Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., who helped fund last year’s Year of the Arts, are passionate about supporting programs that have an impact on culture, as stated in their biographies on their organization’s website. Examples of this include their work with Wycliffe Bible Translators and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Non-Biolans invited to CCCA
Plans for the CCCA include an art symposium each year open to not only Biola students, but the broader Los Angeles community as well. Established authors will come to campus, giving students the chance to hear their stories and find out how they worked toward their achievements. Nystrom says this interaction will be an enriching experience for students.
Other plans entail bringing a widely recognized artisan to Biola for a semester, who will continue his or her work while students have the opportunity to observe, engage and work alongside them.
“We do not know [who will be coming] yet, but the idea is to bring world-class folks to campus for this project,” Nystrom said. “[Biola] has the intellectual capacity and range of academic programs represented even to entertain this project.”
He has high hopes for the impact the CCCA will have on Biola students’ futures.
“We could become a Protestant version of what [the University of] Notre Dame was to the Catholic world in the ‘50s, meaning the universal center for this very important task of understanding and exploring what it means to be responsible to each other, to God, to the world,” Nystrom said. “There are very few Christian universities that are endeavoring to think about how to ensure that good happens 20, 30, 40 years down the road.”
Biola’s leaders are focusing on the future — preparing students for post-college life in the world, according to Nystrom. The CCCA will help Biola scholars learn to integrate properly with the surrounding culture, without conforming to the world.
Although details are limited at this time, students who’ve heard of the new CCCA are looking forward to the new programs.
Engaging with the culture
“I think having the center ... is really exciting, especially after the art symposium we had last spring,” said Brenna Peirson, a senior art major. “We had amazing speakers come in and it was really interesting to talk to artists and theologians, about art and theology and how they relate, and how the church can interact,” she said, referring to the 7th Annual Arts Symposium that happened last year.
There is power and potency in the arts — the expression of who God is and what God has done for us, Nystrom said. He said that through the CCCA, Biola hopes to equip its students to interact with the changing culture.