By Doug Holder
If someone is artistically inclined, and he or she drives out to the campus of Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., they may very well be tempted to paint a picture or compose a poem. The stately old New England homes, the breathtaking view of Beverly Harbor, the waft of a bracing sea breeze, certainly can conjure up the muse. So it makes sense that Endicott College is focused on bringing on an ambitious program in the arts and writing to its hallowed halls.
Endicott College was founded in 1939 by Dr. Eleanor Tupper and her husband Dr. George O. Bierke, with the idea, (according to the official Endicott history):
“to educate women for greater independence professionally and socially.” Endicott then and now offers a solid classroom experience, as well as a link to the outside work-a-day world through a recognized internship program. From just 20 students in 1941, there are now over 1,800 daytime undergraduates, as well as 1100 adult students in graduate and professional studies programs. This along with a 230 acre, well-appointed estate, completes a very pleasing picture.
But Endicott’s ambitions have not stopped here. Dr. Peter Eden, the new Dean of Arts and Sciences, has a PhD in Microbiology, but is very interested in delivering a complete package for a liberal arts institution such as Endicott College. To this end he has worked with Chairman of the Humanities Dr. Mark Herlihy, and Creative Writing professor Dr. Dan Sklar, to affiliate the college with the prestigious journal of arts and ideas, “the new renaissance.” Headed by Louise Reynolds, the magazine has an illustrious history of presenting the best poetry, fiction, and articles of pressing social concern to a national and international audience. A new office has been set up, and students will intern with the magazine and learn the essentials of writing, reviewing, and what it takes to put out a quality journal.
Mark Herlihy feels that the connection with “the new renaissance”, and the recent creation of the Creative Writing program, can only bolster the liberal arts education. Herlihy says of “the new renaissance:”
“The college’s affiliation connects the college to a broad network of poets, artists, and writers in New England and beyond.”
Dan Sklar, who initially approached Peter Eden and Mark Herlihy with the idea for a residency for “the new renaissance,” is a dyed-in-the-wool published poet, and playwright, who tries to connect the literary world to the academic. In classes he is noted for his use of the work of living writers and poetry from small press journals. He has ambitions for an MFA in Creative Writing at Endicott College, if things go well. Sklar told the NEWS:
“Creative writing is grounded in the love of language, and writing in a natural, spontaneous, and expressive and open way. We feel there is a deep connection between the arts, literature and history as an inspirational light in one’s growth as an artist. The MFA is an extension of this philosophy. Our vision of the MFA is also one that is noncompetitive where students become part of a community of writers who are inspired by the world, everyday life, each other’s work, and by the things we see, and the art we see…”
Mark Herlihy also told the NEWS that the undergraduate literary magazine the “Endicott Review,” (that Dan Sklar is faculty advisor for)), had a poem in “The Best American Poetry 2006” edited by the former poet/Laureate Billy Collins. The college has also added to the faculty Charlotte Gordon, author of “Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Story of America’s First Poet,” which won a Massachusetts Book Award.
Endicott is also expanding on another front as well. Mark Towner, Dean of the Fine Arts School of Art and Design, says that the Board of Trustees of the college authorized the construction of a 70,000 square foot Center for Visual and Performing Arts at the College. The design will be completed June 15, and construction should begin on July 1, 2007. Towner adds that:
“The new facility will support the visual arts by providing state-of-the-art studios, galleries, and workshops. The latter will include woodwork/model building/ book arts (printmaking/bookbinding), finishing and mounting, computer labs, digital printing, a performance hall and a blackbox theatre. These two major additions will support the growth of both music and theatre arts at Endicott.”
With all this new activity on this campus by-the sea, it seems likely that Endicott will become the arts and cultural hub of the North Shore. Boston and Cambridge watch your backs!