JCA moves arts forward

Butler University’s art college, which has its roots in the Metropolitan School of Music of the late nineteenth century, underwent another transformation this week.

The Jordan College of Fine Arts officially changed its name to the Jordan College of the Arts, notifying students and faculty Monday around noon that the change was immediately in effect.

Ronald Caltabiano, dean of the Jordan College of the Arts, said in a prepared statement on the college’s website—still http://www.butler.edu/jcfa as of press time— “It’s an appropriate name for a forward-looking multi-art college in the 21st century.”

JCA now includes more programs than it did around the turn of the century when it was a music school with a small dance program. Arthur Jordan, businessman and philanthropist, bought the school in 1928. He merged it with the Indiana College of Music and Fine Arts.

The resulting college was called the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music and later the Jordan College of Music.

JCM became a college at Butler in 1951. According to the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, JCM had music, dance, theatre, radio and television programs. JCA no longer has radio and television programs.

In 1978, the name changed again to the Jordan College of Fine Arts. That name stuck until Monday.

Caltabiano said it was about time for another change.

“’Fine arts limits what the scope of the college can be. If we want to be open to all the arts, we have to get rid of that limit,” he said.

Caltabiano said the new name gives the college room to expand into other areas. He specifically mentioned architecture and cinema but carefully articulated that no definite plans are yet in place.

Caltabiano said he also hopes that under the new name, JCA will be a place for arts to mix in new ways. The mixture will form new art forms, which Caltabiano calls “transdisciplinary” arts.

“That’s where innovation comes from right now, and that’s what we have to be ready for,” he said.

The notion of a name change was brought up last fall and was discussed in an all-college meeting at the beginning of last semester.

Caltabiano said there were no objections, and the matter went to the university administration and, finally, to the Board of Trustees.

Caltabiano said the board approved the change last week.

Jenny Mobley, an adjunct professor of music, said she was completely in favor of the change.

“The name change more properly denotes what the college is about,” she said.

Senior Quinn Leary, a theatre and English major, said he appreciated the administators’ reasoning, but his opinion is neutral.

“I’ll call it ‘JCFA’ forever,” said Leary.

Nicholas Roman, a junior music education major, also was neutral about the change.

“I didn’t think we were being exclusive by saying ‘Jordan College of Fine Arts,’” he said. “No one is going to call it ‘JCA.’”

Caltabiano said he understood the “JCFA” name was pretty well ingrained.

“Alumni of ‘JCFA’ will probably always call it that, and that’s okay,” Caltabiano said.

“We see ‘JCA’ as a small change, a small but important change.”


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