The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Director’s Welcome

Sullivan Welcome

Those new to SoVA this year bring with them a reminder of what it is like to relocate, to be placed in a new space. In this case, to be displaced is part of a conscious decision that has a purpose—to attend college, either fresh out of school, or as a grad returning to study. Yet the dislocations are real, as the new environment brings with it new expectations, and because moving to a new place is a physical and emotional experience. However, it is also disruptive in the way that all creative challenges change the boundaries within which we work.

For some, leaving the comfort of what is known and predictable is a slow process of change that happens all around, and being immersed within a new physical space requires taking on different frames of mind. For undergrads in this situation, it’s being open to fresh perspectives that can be liberating and daunting at the same time. For others, it is finding that one’s accumulated experience is affirmed as it is found within the systems of knowledge and between the discipline cracks of the information economy that make institutions run. For grads, it’s like finding that one knows more than initially thought; it’s just that others have imagined it differently.

In welcoming SoVA’s new undergraduate and graduate students it is instructive to consider things from their perspective. SoVA thrives on the uncertainty of what we don’t know because it changes what we do know. Therefore, we too welcome the new year for it brings an opportunity to be jolted from our complacencies and to have our assumptions artfully ambushed.

Graeme Sullivan, September 2013

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