Tuesday, July 13, 2010

#3 - College of Santa Fe

A train whistle wouldn't have awakened Rebecca on the morning we were to attend the open house at The College of Santa Fe. Isn't that always the way it is - the bed is so comfortable and the sleep so satisfying whenever there is a need for an early start.

Even with the wake up problems, we were ready long before we needed to leave for the light breakfast offered at the school. There was plenty of time for at least one wardrobe change and a chance to sit around nervously thinking about the day ahead.

Cars were beginning to fill the parking lot by the time we arrived. Students and parents were sprinkled around the sunny courtyard quietly talking among themselves and shyly eyeing each other. A friendly admissions officer warmly greeted Rebecca, handed us packets of information, and invited us to partake of the ample breakfast buffet.

We were finally seated in a small auditorium where an introduction by the president was followed by a question and answer session with enthusiastic faculty, staff, and students. Having been sworn to silence to avoid embarrassment, I was pleased that others asked most of my questions. I liked what I heard - the school has recently gone through a difficult period, but has emerged stronger with new management and soon a new name - Santa Fe University of Art & Design. I heard phrases such as interdisciplinary opportunities, supportive faculty, friendly students, community involvement, and the primary goal of helping individual students find and follow their own passion.

After a short session where parents learned about financial aid and students separated into discussion groups by area of interest, we started our student led tours of the campus. The school is more than 100 years old, but the buildings on campus date mostly from the last 30 years of the 20th century. An impressive new visual arts building designed by a famous Mexican architect was the first stop. Our student guide, a creative writing major, teared up when she spoke passionately about being able to hold in her hands the original photographic prints by numerous famous photographers housed in a special library in the building.

We passed the Greer Garson Theatre on our way to the creative writing and contemporary music building. A visit to the Garson Communications Center, which houses the moving image program, and a walk through of one of the dorms completed our tour.

An open air lunch gave me an opportunity to strike up an informative conversation with the young man who manages the photo lab while Rebecca was engaged in conversation with a young woman who plans to attend in the fall. After lunch, a very animated former student gave an overview of all the degree programs - studio art, photography, graphic design, performing arts, contemporary music, and moving image (film/animation). I was ready to sign up. Rebecca's reaction? . . . undecided.

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