Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 22, 2004
Group plans Catholic fine arts college
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Classic paintings, timeless movies and the favourite recordings come to us not by accident. They are the product of God's gifts working through the artist.
A proposed new college near Derwent, north of Vermilion, hopes to open in about three years with a unique three-year arts program combining the intellectual and artistic (technical) aspects of the creative process with spiritual formation, says Ken Noster.
"Artists might have technical skills but they also want to develop spiritually, to produce beauty and truth at the same time," said Noster, founder and board chair of Living Water College of the Arts.
"Christ manifesting through art is truth and an artist needs to understand what that means. They need to get their own legs in terms of their own faith walk. Then they can express truth through the medium of art."
With his wife Marlane, Noster has been involved in the arts for many years. He is well known for his annual performance as Jesus in Love According to John, an Easter favourite in Edmonton.
He frequently encounters young artists who possess abundant gifts but have nowhere to use them in mainstream media without risk of losing their spirituality. He hopes to nurture their talents with an understanding of why they have those talents.
Placing the college away from a large community is conducive to spiritual reflection and artistic growth, Noster said.
"The remote location is actually part of the vision," he said. "We want to produce an environment where the students can retreat from the many distractions to focus on their spiritual, intellectual and artistic development. We were looking to provide serenity and solitude for the students and staff."
Noster stresses the college is still far from an established reality. But it does have a board of directors which includes a representative of the Edmonton Archdiocese, Father Paul Moret.
Kevin Carr, former president of Newman Theological College, chairs a seven-member steering committee that also includes Father Paul Terrio of Stony Plain-Spruce Grove and former Alberta solicitor-general Richard Fowler.
The board and the steering committee are looking into fundraising and public awareness. It wants to form a campaign team in the next few months with representation from all regions of Alberta.
"We are looking to raise around $2 million for start-up expenses and the first three years of operation," Noster said.
The college is looking to house 25 students. There will be a large common kitchen area, recording studios, classrooms and a library. There will also be a chapel.
The goal is to provide a college to study visual arts, theatre, music, film and video along with literary arts like script and play writing.
Living Waters would have a small resident staff. Sessional instructors would come in and teach from a week to a month, doing intensive work in a particular area.
The focus of the school is vocational art development. A curriculum advisory committee has been established to develop the first programs with which the college will commence.
When Fred Holtslag heard about Living Water more than three years ago, he immediately wanted to help.
"When Ken shared his vision with me, I saw the need for what the college could provide in our world," said Holtslag, a fellow board member. "The Lord has blessed me and my family in so many ways that I felt I was called to pay some of that back.
"Setting up a college is a huge process. As far as we know, this is North America's first Catholic fine arts college that focuses on and packages the three pillars of learning: spiritual, intellectual and technical."
A public tour of the facility is planned for Nov. 27. The event is the first in a planned series of sessions designed to keep people informed and to encourage them to participate in the development of the college, through fundraising and word-of-mouth.
"It's the Lord's timing," Noster said.
Anyone interested in taking the tour of the college is asked to call Margaret Sheridan at (780) 436-5555, in Edmonton.
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