Center for the Arts Stories: Christopher Riggs MA ’12

Christopher Riggs MA '12. Photo by Eric Gallippo.
Christopher Riggs MA ’12. Photo by Eric Gallippo.

Center for the Arts Story: I’ve met few educators who exhibit unconditional positive regard for the creative urges of students in the way Ronald Kuivila can. By this I don’t mean to imply that working with Ron involves simple coddling. New ideas are cared for in a nurturing way but are also submitted to rigorous scrutiny. Ron seems to get inside your head and observe the past, present, and future of your bizarre, idiosyncratic impulses. Rather than submit to the artistic affinities of my mentor, I felt like I had become more of who I already was after each week’s thesis meeting. The fact that my particular type of artistic process was of no personal interest to Ron did not appear to present him with any kind of pedagogical obstacle. It was almost as if this distance made him even better at his job. I hesitate to make such a statement because it would imply that someone tuned in to Ron’s particular interests (e.g. American Experimentalism, Computer Music, etc.), would not almost certainly benefit from his expertise. I’m confident they would.

Ron’s style of teaching as cultivation of individual growth is rare in an educator and experiencing it from the perspective of a student is an incredible and occasionally therapeutic experience. Wesleyan University is extremely lucky to have Ron Kuivila as a teacher and anyone with an artistic practice, regardless of genre or discipline, would benefit greatly from his teaching.

Favorite Course: Graduate Thesis Tutorial with Ronald Kuivila

Favorite Professor: Ronald Kuivila

Thesis Title: “Sweet Spot of Potential: The Prepared Guitar of Christopher Riggs”