Consider everything an experiment
Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules
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For 30 years until 1968, Sister Mary Corita headed the art department at Immaculate Heart College, a Catholic college in Los Angeles which quickly became known for its forward thinking art classes. Indeed, Sister Mary herself was a leading light in the Pop Art movement thanks to her unique and bold screen printing; she was also good friends with such people as Alfred Hitchcock, Saul Bass, and John Cage. During her time teaching at the college, she wrote the following list of rules for the department.
IMMACULATE HEART COLLEGE ART DEPARTMENT RULES
RULE ONE: Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for awhile.
RULE TWO: General duties of a student: pull everything out of your teacher. Pull everything out of your fellow students.
RULE THREE: General duties of a teacher: pull everything out of your students.
RULE FOUR: Consider everything an experiment.
RULE FIVE: Be self disciplined. This means finding someone wise or smart and choosing to follow them. To be disciplined is to follow in a good way. To be self disciplined is to follow in a better way.
RULE SIX: Nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail. There’s only make.
RULE SEVEN: The only rule is work. If you work it will lead to something. It’s the people who do all of the work all the time who eventually catch on to things.
RULE EIGHT: Don’t try to create and analyse at the same time. They’re different processes.
RULE NINE: Be happy whenever you can manage it. Enjoy yourself. It’s lighter than you think.
RULE TEN: “We’re breaking all the rules. Even our own rules. And how do we do that? By leaving plenty of room for X quantities.”—John Cage
HELPFUL HINTS: Always be around. Come or go to everything. Always go to classes. Read anything you can get your hands on. Look at movies carefully, often. Save everything - it might come in handy later.
Sister Corita Kent, “Immaculate Heart College Art Department Rules” from Jan Steward and Corita Kent, Learning by Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit. Copyright © 2008 by Jan Steward and Corita Kent. Reprinted with the permission of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
What lucky students they were!