Ahmanson and Fine Arts: Drawing a New Education

Jul. 21, 2011 By Jenna Bartlo

According to the Huffington Post, Christian college fine art programs have been struggling since the 1980s. Biola University is no exception. In the past two decades, Biola has made continuous strides to offer a program equivalent to traditional fine art programs and this year hopes to exceed the traditional form of art programs through a visionary-in-residence program led by Roberta Green Ahmanson titled, “Sacred Spaces: Year of the Arts.”

Taking a cue from top artist-in-residence programs, Biola is one of a select few institutions nationwide with a new educational paradigm incorporating a visionary-in-residence which will bring an individual to campus whom will interact in lively, cross disciplinary conversations. For Biola’s upcoming “Year of the Arts,” the visionary-in-residence initiative honors Ahmanson as the 2011-2012 visionary.

Ahmanson, a writer, designer and philanthropist, will lead a new generation of artists fostering interaction among a variety of constituencies throughout the university while in residence. Time Magazine listed Ahmanson with her husband, Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson, Jr., as two of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America today. Her public activities are focused on deepening awareness and understanding the role of religion and art in public life, the importance of knowing history to understand the present and the vital role the arts play in shaping human experience.

Special courses, retreats, tours and programming that explore this crucial theme of Sacred Spaces are currently being planned including a major art symposium, a design charrette where select students will work with leading architects to design an outdoor chapel for Orange County Rescue Mission’s ranch, a spring break trip to help outsider artist Leonard Knight at his Salvation Mountain site, among other opportunities branching into a variety of disciplines.  

A full schedule of events will be available in August. Contact Jenna Bartlo, Media Relations Coordinator, for more information at 562.777.4061 or through email at jenna.l.bartlo@biola.edu.


  • Dianne B. Collard Aug. 19, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    I am so thrilled to hear about this endeavor at Biola. As a graduate (M.A. 1998; D.Miss 2004) who works full-time with artists-of-faith in the U.S. and Europe, I can only applaud that Biola is taking a pro-active and creative approach to the role of the arts in the culture, the church and academia. Thank-you!

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