Friday, August 12, 2011

History of Arts & Consciousness, Part One

Master of Arts Program Consciousness and The Arts Brochure

I have always felt that it is important to be grounded in knowledge of personal and cultural history because it creates a legacy of understanding that, in the words of the poet Rumi, "our lamp was lit by another’s light…".

Over thirty years ago the seeds of our program in Arts & Consciousness (A&C) at John F. Kennedy University were planted by young artists and scholars who believed that the practice of art could lead to deep connections to spiritual, emotional and psychological dimensions. The "path" of consciousness was connected to wholeness, individuation, the sacred, intuition, and to the forms and materials that embodied this exploratory journey.

The articulation of this process continues to be an on-going practice of current JFKU A&C students particularly in their exhibitions and written Masters’ projects.

 Our program began in the late 1970’s as Consciousness and the Arts housed within the Graduate School for the Study of Human Consciousness. The program brochure listed four other degree specializations including: Religion and Consciousness, Parapsychology, Consciousness Studies and Transpersonal Psychology. The Consciousness and the Arts program was visualized as a tree with the roots embedded in the study of consciousness and growing outward into three branches: studio practice, thematic seminars and workshops on creativity and personal process.

A&C faculty member Charles Miedzinski, who died from cancer on July 3, 2004, was a pivotal figure in the development of the program. In 1978 he submitted a curriculum proposal (beautifully hand written) for a "Creativity and Consciousness" program which, as he wrote, were "incipient, half-formed ideas" which would later take shape as the first guideposts on the journey that we continue today.

Charles Miedzinski, June 14, 1978 Letter

Art is a state of grace before whose light we uncoil our secret selves, and within which we receive promise of a greater whole. It asks nothing from us but our best. Theodore Wolff (from the Consciousness and the Arts brochure)

To be continued...

Click on links below to view the letter and MA Program Brochure

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