Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation adds arts initiative to university-wide culture of service.

MADISON, N.J.—Drew University has been awarded a $625,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a new initiative that will bridge the school’s arts programs with its rigorous liberal arts program of study and equally strong tradition of service. Anchored by the appointment of an artist-in-residence, The Arts and the Common Good will apply theatre, music, and studio art to raising awareness and increasing understandings of the issues that impact the community, nation, and world.

The program will help faculty and students leverage the arts to make creative connections between different areas of knowledge. In this way, it is designed to inspire and facilitate new collaborations across disciplines. As a result, university officials expect the initiative to benefit students by increasing their cultural literacy as well as their creativity, critical thinking skills, and problem-solving capacities, enabling their success in careers and graduate schools.

The initiatives that constitute Drew’s culture of service include student-run programs in faraway places like Honduras and Senegal, along with those in nearby locations like Newark, N.J, Harlem, N.Y. and hurricane-torn regions on the Jersey shore. The school’s Center for Civic Engagement also contributes to this culture by administering its Civic Scholars program, which awards scholarships to select students who are required to incorporate service projects into their coursework.