From the President

Evergreen President Les Purce

Evergreen President Les Purce.

Art teaches us to question the way we look at the world, and offers alternative explanations for what we see. Teaching visual literacy is a critical part of arts study at Evergreen, where faculty members encourage open expression in an atmosphere that fosters creativity. According to a recent report by The Conference Board, U.S. employers rate creativity/innovation among the top five skills that will increase in importance over the next five years, and rank it among the top challenges facing CEOs. Arts-related study in college is a key creativity indicator to potential employers.

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Evergreen alumni artists routinely break new ground, creating original works that change the way we look at art—and the world. From making innovative textiles to reinterpreting traditional carving, photographing rock-n-roll to portraying Antarctica’s rarely seen environment, Greeners continue to add beauty and insight to the world around them. Others make it their business to nurture creative talent and bring it to the larger community. Beyond making their careers directly in art, many Evergreen alumni are involved in the arts in other ways, either as artists outside of their jobs or in promotion, arts board leadership, or volunteering. Nearly 20 percent of our alumni who volunteer do so in the arts.

Although we have had to make hard choices about reducing our operating budget, we have maintained our commitment to the arts, including this year’s renovation of one of the most-used facilities on campus, the 37-year-old Arts Annex building. Last October, our first-ever Art of Living auction and brunch succeeded well beyond our projections, raising more than $85,000 for student support, and we look forward to our 2nd annual event this fall.

At Evergreen, we believe in the extraordinary value and potential of art to build communities and foster the creativity it takes to build a new economy. When budgets are tight, arts education is often among the first things to go. Here, recognizing that the arts are essential to the long-term health of our society, we will always make investing in the artistic expression of our students and faculty a priority.

Thomas L. Purce