There is often a difficult place for artists at the beginning of their careers: they are largely sure of their vision, but they lack an outlet to present their art. Loyola Marymount University’s Lydia Hao Emerging Artists Program provides a showcase for yet-to-be recognized artists to advance their art. And LMU’s students benefit by proximity to artists who are, in essence, just a few levels of accomplishment ahead of themselves.
“I see many new artists struggling before they have established their careers as artists,” said Lydia Hao, whose financial support established the program for the College of Communication and Fine Arts. “So, I wanted to create a program that could give new artists a platform for encouragement and an opportunity to gain experience and recognition to help them further their careers.”
The first showcased artist, in 2009, was designer and sculptor Patrick Mavros. The next artist was pianist Xiayin Wang, in 2011.
The third performance, in April 2013, featured the Australian dance troupe CHIU COX, the married team of Victoria Chiu and Roland Cox. They were suggested to Dean Bryant Keith Alexander by Rosalynde LeBlanc Loo, assistant professor of dance, as fitting the description of being emerging artists, yet with a depth of experience to put on a compelling performance.
An added feature to this event was the inclusion of Professor Loo as a performer, and Lennon Hobson, a student dancer. The three pieces, on the same performance billing, worked together artistically as a complete program. Professor Loo has been developing “dance as an archive, dance as a memoir, dance as capturing the personal narrative,” she said. Professor Loo had worked with Roland Cox before and knew that he was on a similar artistic path. It was then suggested that Lennon Hobson, a senior dance major and theatre arts minor create a dance that would capture her experience with family illness, possibility and prayer, entitled, “Without Jesus.”
“I was really moved that Lennon’s work and Cox and Chiu were so well received,” Professor Loo said. “The audience feedback was that they never thought dance could capture the feeling of memory without being literal. Dance captures the spirit, the movement, the energy of an event or time period or person. It was really satisfying that people were able to get that out of the show.”
Lydia Hao’s inspiration to advance emerging artists is rooted in her experience. “When I was young, I wanted to be a fashion designer, but I was discouraged by my parents. They thought this was an unconventional career choice,” she said. “Even though I didn’t have a chance to pursue fashion myself, I am still passionate about arts and design.”