Letter from the Deans
In 1908 in the early years of the University of Texas, students created their own dramatic society called the Curtain Club. The extracurricular club produced dramatic entertainments, often original student drama, musical theatre and concerts. And, if you ask alumni of the era, it was epically successful! The Curtain Club also incubated raw talents that would go on to celebrity in an earlier era, including Eli Wallach, Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, Texas Governor John Connally, Jane Mansfield, Rip Torn, Fess Parker, Tommy Tune, Zachery Scott and Walter Cronkite, among many others. The Club also gave impetus to the construction of Hogg Auditorium in 1933 and to the founding in 1938 of the Drama Department—now the Department of Theatre and Dance.
The Curtain Club is a wonderful example of students shaping the character of the university through the arts even as they prepared themselves for their professional lives and invented major new works for the stage, film and television.
The Curtain Club is gone, but students at the University of Texas remain as creative and entrepreneurial as ever. From the Texas Revue, a campus-wide talent contest, to the thousands of student musicians, artists, game designers, dancers, magicians, jugglers, movie makers, and designers, UT Longhorns are infusing the “creative economy” with their originality and invention.
At the University of Texas we celebrate student achievement, originality, and leadership in the classroom, on the athletic field, in laboratories and archives. We also encourage and honor student invention and originality on our stages and in our studios. Sponsored by the College of Fine Arts and the Division of Student Affairs, the Creative 40 Acres is dedicated to supporting and celebrating creative art-making and cultural expression by UT students wherever it flourishes on our campus—especially outside the organized curriculum in student-initiated creative work. The mission of the Creative 40 Acres is to encourage originality and creativity, foster student initiative and leadership, celebrate the cultural diversity of the campus community, and cultivate the cultural and commercial value of our students’ original artistic work.
Along with the iconic Texas Union, Gregory and Anna Hiss gymnasia, Hogg Auditorium was built during the depths of the Great Depression to enrich student life on the 40 Acres. The Creative 40 Acres is pleased to be reviving Hogg Auditorium as a flagship performance venue dedicated exclusively to student initiated and student produced events. The venerable hall will, during 2014-15 undergo a renovation in a first phase of its rejuvenation. Look forward to a dedication ceremony in 2015!
And we’d also like to introduce Prometheus , mascot and logo for the Creative 40 Acres and a distant Texas relative of the Greek god of human invention who brought creative fire to mankind. Look for him around campus.
We welcome your interest, involvement and support. This web site will tell you more about the gigantic creativity incubating on the 40 Acres. It provides a resource for students and student organizations looking for facilities, advice, and funding to support their creative inspiration.
The cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy!