art is extraordinarily powerful and important
it challenges peoples’ lives
– Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
As we create art, we create our world. Artistic expression is seen as a means of awakening.
The Visual Arts Department [at Naropa University] provides a context for creativity as an agent of change and introspection. The program is a unique training practice in how to be an inspired human being. Technique, conceptual thought and self-awareness are examined as students develop artistic skills, intellect and intuition. Traditional and contemporary study blended with contemplative practice provides an education that is both practical and profound. Students are encouraged to explore formal training in awareness practices. Technical proficiency and keen critical thinking provide an enduring foundation for our graduates to enter the world as artists who create responsible change in contemporary society.
The curriculum presents artistic disciplines, both modern and traditional, alongside the practice of mindfulness meditation. This style of meditation, which is simply training the body and mind to act together, has its roots in Buddhism and Taoism. Synchronization of body and mind has for many centuries provided a reliable foundation for accuracy in perception, guiding artists to go beyond mere self-display or current fashion.
Art and meditation complement one another because both require a firsthand relationship with sense perceptions, how we perceive both our own minds and the world around us. The ancient wisdom of training in non-theoretical, direct perception of the present moment holds great benefit for our present age, especially for artists who are willing to take an active visionary role in their culture.
The Path of Dharma Art
– Chögyam Trungpa