The love of fine arts is expressed in many ways, including our buildings and chapels and the beautiful sights and sounds that fill them. But perhaps it is most meaningfully expressed in our dedicated teaching of thousands of students in music, art and theater.
Musical instruction is a longstanding tradition. In our early days, every postulant, novice and professed sister learned liturgical music. That instruction was carried through to our choirs and grade and high school classes, and music education was part of every curriculum in our schools.
High schools were privileged to have an art teacher, but elementary school teachers taught their own art. Summer sessions offering instruction in teaching art and the development of art curriculum helped these teachers. In all classrooms, the arts were taught as if all students were going to be artists or musicians.
The sisters' work in theater began in the 1950s with a single college classroom outfitted with a makeshift stage at one end. Productions were developed and performed as theater in the round in the gymnasium. Since then, the sisters have designed a theater program especially for pre-school, middle school and junior high school students.
With the construction of the Fine Arts Center on the Viterbo campus, the sisters expanded their reach. The center is home to the Bright Star Season that brings great artists to the La Crosse stage. With the opening of the Weber Center for the Performing Arts the sisters' influence on fine arts in the La Crosse area continues.
Artistic expression continues as a primary ministry of several FSPA members. To learn more about contemporary projects by FSPA members visit www.ruahmedia.org and Sister Betty Bradley Original Watercolors and Religious Icons.