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TCU Magazine "Capturing Budapest"

Articles:   Business | Nursing |Science and engineering | AddRan

Deans list

The University names five (three newcomers and two current TCU deans) of the seven who will lead its new colleges

Dean Scott Sullivan
College of Fine Arts

Personal: Born May 22, 1947, in Rochester, N.Y.; Sullivan in his spare time is a golfer, gardener and jogger. He's also an architecture enthusiast (able to casually cite the architects of various TCU buildings!)

Education: BA, John Carroll, 1969
MA, Case Western Reserve, 1972 PhD, Case Western Reserve, 1978 Management Development Program, Harvard, 1996

Professional: As the dean of the College of Fine and Professional Arts at Kent State University, Sullivan in four years opened a downtown Kent Art Gallery, established the Urban Design Center in Cleveland and saw contributions to the College double annually, from $630,000 to $2.4 million.

To understand new Fine Arts Dean Scott Sullivan, you must first understand Dutch gamepiecesŃstill-life paintings of animals killed during the hunt.

In 17th-century Holland, the seemingly odd paintings were widely collected by the middle class.

But why? The affable 53-year-old Sullivan knows. The art historian's dissertation and later book delve into the subject, and he continues to consult on the paintings today.

Still lifes of that day began as flowers or kitchen utensils, he said, but soon artists were also painting hunting trophies -- deer, rabbits, swans and hunting gear. This was strange because by law only the nobility could hunt, and the wars for independence had decimated most of the upper class. The middle class, however, thrived.

"They became increasingly wealthy and bought townhouses and country houses and began to imitate the aristocracy," Sullivan said. "They began to buy these hunting pictures even though they couldn't hunt. It was like buying a Lexus, a sign that they had made it in society. Suddenly, there was great demand for these, and they became very elegant pictures as the century wore on."

It is the paintings' deeper meaning that animates Sullivan in conversation. It's also why he's spent a lifetime promoting the point behind all of the fine arts.

"Art communicates the culture, the entire history of the people who produced it," he said. "Even the art that is produced today, though it may not be readily apparent, is transmitting the values of our culture.

"What do you do for fun? It's almost always about the arts. You go to a movie. You listen to a CD. You watch a play. It is the arts that renew our spirits and speak to us intrinsically in a way that you can't express in words."

Sullivan found his art history love during his junior year in college that he spent in Rome. There, he saw first-hand some of the world's greatest art and architecture.

Three decades later, Sullivan sees his new post, though smaller than his Kent State job, as perhaps more exciting. One of his first initiatives? To bring a premier visiting artist and lecture series to campus.

"At TCU, you had a college that was divided so that each will now have its own focus. You have a chancellor who talks about the fine arts as one of the University's centers of excellence.

The idea of having the close relationship between the city and the school, like that which exists in Fort Worth, is a tremendous asset and creates opportunities for the school and the city.

"That's exciting to any fine arts dean, no matter where you're coming from."