After five years, Assistant Art Professor Andrew Hendrixson will leave MVNU to get his second master’s degree at Yale University in religion and the arts.
Hendrixson says teaching has been great, but it is time to move on to other adventures. His time here has led him to “a lot of questions about art that art can’t speak to,” such as art’s theological implications. He questions what art can and should do for the world and if it can do anything worthwhile.
For answers to these questions, Hendrixson looks to his upcoming courses: “I want to understand art through theology.”
The religion and the arts master’s degree is designed for people who have previously completed a master’s or doctorate degree.
MVNU was Hendrixson’s first job out of grad school. He said it has been a good place to learn and grow, and he is thankful for that space.
Hendrixson is proud of the culture he has helped create at the Buchwald Center, saying students have certain expectations for themselves and their peers that go far beyond whether or not something “looks good.”
Hendrixson emphasized that MVNU students are interestingly situated in a Christian university and at times are “the provokers, the interpreters and the empathizers.”
He has enjoyed watching students mature from freshmen who “don’t know what they don’t know” to artists who care about things that matter, whose sources are “the right sources.”
Hendrixson is proud when his students quote sources like Charles Bukowski, Martin Heidegger and Kay Ryan. That “feels like victory” to him, because when students read what matters, it impacts their lives far beyond art.
He added that art students are among the most ambitious here, saying they are serious about stewardship and following what God wants. Hendrixson said he regularly reminds students they are Christian intellectuals, and it is important to be thoughtful Christian students.
He increasingly hopes MVNU will become a more ambitious place where students can tackle big questions and not be timid about “engaging it all.”
Hendrixson encourages his students to be as good as any student in the country in their field. If they are not, he tells them, it may be because they need to move on to something else.
Hendrixson believes MVNU should be the best small Christian school in the country — “Why not?” he asks.
“You have to be something,” he said. “You might as well just be awesome; it is not that much more work.”
The MVNU art department is hiring Justin Sorensen as assistant art professor to replace Hendrixson. Sorenson will begin teaching in fall 2016. Sorensen received his bachelor’s in fine arts from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, then went on to graduate work at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, and specialized in printmaking with a master’s of fine arts at the Rhode Island School of Design.