Art + Invention
The Art + Invention project (A+I) was a year-long Stanford University programming initiative celebrating the arts, creativity and collaboration across campus during the 2009-10 academic year. Along with many campus partners, the project was co-organized by the Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa) and Stanford Lively Arts (SLA). Jazz composer/musician Dave Douglas and filmmaker Bill Morrison were the project’s lead artists, developing their work on campus and interfacing with students during a series of intensive residency periods. As the project centerpiece, Lively Arts commissioned Douglas and Morrison to create an evening-length work of live music and film, Spark of Being, which received its world premiere at Stanford in April 2010. As a pilot project which sought for the first time to connect the campus through a central arts programming theme, Art + Invention acted as a catalyst and incubator for new activities, partnerships, courses, events and collaborations between and within academic departments, student organizations, and arts groups on and off campus.
The primary goals of the project were to:
- Develop and deepen arts partnerships across campus
- Stimulate interdisciplinary exchange and art-making on campus
- Develop new models for arts program evaluation on campus
- Create programs, relationships and structures that would over time elevate the role of the arts, artistic collaboration, and interdisciplinary exchange on campus
In 2006 Stanford University launched a campus-wide presidential initiative to expand, enhance and embrace the arts across the university. The Stanford Arts Initiative included the creation of a new Vice President for the Arts role, and established an ambitious set of goals, including enriching student life; strengthening core arts programs; establishing world-class arts facilities; and expanding partnerships off- and on-campus. The Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa) was created to serve as the administrative and strategic center for this vision, providing and administering new resources to support activities that cut across existing programs and traditional academic boundaries. As a start-up organization, SiCa was not fully staffed and operating at capacity until mid-2008. By Fall 2008, SiCa and Lively Arts began collaborating on the Creative Campus project around a new work by first-time collaborators, Dave Douglas and Bill Morrison.
From the planning process for the Douglas/Morrison residency emerged new partnerships, particularly Lively Arts’ working relationship with SiCa, and the idea for a campus-wide arts “theme year” dubbed “Art + Invention.” This particular theme quickly captured the campus imagination because it highlighted particular strengths at Stanford: imagination, innovation, and interdisciplinary thinking.