By Deanna Howes Spiro, Vice President of Communications, AJCU


Last summer, we launched the #JesuitMuseums initiative in our weekly e-newsletter, AJCU Higher Ed News, to highlight the significant collections of art on our campuses at a time when in-person visits were prohibited due to the pandemic. This issue of Connections takes a deeper dive by examining how the arts and academics at Jesuit colleges and universities are interconnected both online and in-person.

In a 2015 article for Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, artist and historian Rev. Tom Lucas, S.J. wrote, “Although Ignatius Loyola didn’t have an artistic bone in his body, he bequeathed to the Jesuit order and its institutions a sensibility, an appreciation for the revelatory power of the imagination that was a breakthrough in the Western spiritual tradition. Unlike so many earlier spiritual writers who warned against fantasy or the use of images, Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises encourages retreatants actively to use their imaginations as well as their intellects.”

In 2020, the pandemic necessitated curators and professors to put their imaginations to use by transitioning exhibits and classes online. In this new “way of proceeding,” Jesuit colleges and universities were able to model flexibility and adaptability all in an effort to help their communities explore new representations of our culture and understand how art can help us to make sense of our world.

We are grateful for the articles by this issue’s contributors, several of whom are members of the newly-formed AJCU Art Museum Directors Consortium. They will contribute to the Summer 2021 “installation” of #JesuitMuseums, which will return to AJCU Higher Ed News in June.