Stephanie Owens

Stephanie Owens

Often art and design within a large university are seen as belonging in a predetermined quadrant, building or classroom–safely contained on the periphery of the more central concerns of a leading research institution.
This role of outsider looking in, however, reflects neither the current of contemporary art nor the temperament of artists working within the rich network of scholars, libraries, laboratories, collections and archives common to a university community.

Contemporary art is fugitive in form and intent–in contact with the larger sphere of society where engagement with other fields has produced critical practices in bioart, computational art, environmental art, critical design, social media and other hybrid forms that no longer sit comfortably within the isolation of the art studio.

Art at Cornell, when positioned as a ubiquitous rather than peripheral force of critical thinking and creativity, is perfectly aligned to express the affinities shared by science, society, and the humanities in ways that further all disciplines and encourage an expanded role for the arts–creating a vital “third space” from which future realms of art and culture can emerge.

In my role as its Director, I am committed to give the CCA new agency in its reach across campus to inspire a shared vision of the importance of the arts and to build participation in defining that vision. I am certain that doing so will not only raise the profile of the arts at Cornell but lead peer organizations internationally in establishing an engaged, trans-disciplinary form of support that can reinvigorate the relationship of the arts to scholarship and industry.

It is my hope that all members of Cornell’s creative community will join me in envisioning and co-creating an environment for the arts that is open to unexpected links between practice and pedagogy, studio and society. If successful in fostering this kind of connectivity, I am certain that the CCA can be a catalyst for understanding the arts in ways consistent with the expanded, mediated, globalized forms of contemporary experience.