Strengthening Creativity and Imagination

The Creative Arts Program (CARTS) at SUA is focused on the “hands-on” creation of artistic works in a range of media.

Our program is linked and contributes to the mission of the university in two specific ways: 

  • Through direct experience of the artistic process, students engage in a mode of human behavior that is universal across cultures and as ancient as our species itself, and this common experience can help foster the empathy necessary for global citizenship. 
  • Through developing creative thinking and imagination and the skills or craft to actualize that imagination in artistic works, students gain confidence in their own capabilities as creative individuals who can contribute to fresh solutions to the problems of today’s and tomorrow’s world in any field of endeavor. 

While we also offer advanced-level courses in most areas, there are CARTS courses available in each medium to all students regardless of prior experience. It is not uncommon in our classes to have complete beginners working next to students with extensive backgrounds and learning and developing their capabilities together. Some of our former students have gone on to obtain graduate degrees in the arts, or to begin professional careers as artists or arts educators, but our focus and mission as a program is seeing all our students grow through these creative experiences.

  • CARTS 101 Introduction to Music Composition  
  • CARTS 102 Introduction to Songwriting  
  • CARTS 110 Music Composition with the Computer 
  • CARTS 120 Drawing: Seeing & Imagination 
  • CARTS 130 Beginning Ceramics  
  • CARTS 131 Sculpture: Creating Form 
  • CARTS 140 Creative Painting 
  • CARTS 150 Introduction to Photography 
  • CARTS 160 Creative Dance 
  • CARTS 201 Composing Tonal Music 
  • CARTS 205 Improvising Music 
  • CARTS 210 Music Composition II: The Next Step 
  • CARTS 260 Advanced Creative Dance 
  • CARTS 320 Advanced Studio Art: Drawing II 
  • CARTS 330 Advanced Ceramics 
  • CARTS 340 Advanced Painting 
  • CARTS 350 Advanced Photography

Course Offerings

Image of student artwork.

CARTS Credit Courses

Courses are offered each year in painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, photography, dance, and music (improvisation, songwriting, electronic, and acoustic composition, in rotation). All beginning and advanced level CARTS courses satisfy the requirement, and additional courses, in the same or different media, can be taken for elective credit. One general aspect of creativity which we focus on in all our courses is enhancing perceptual skill; deepening our understanding of and appreciation for how all of our senses work, and then exploring new ways in which our artistic efforts interact with them is essential to fostering creative imagination.

Image of a student musical trio performing in the Performing Arts Center.

Music Ensembles

Students can take these courses for elective credit.

The CARTS Program also offers Music Ensemble courses for students who want to learn or develop their abilities in music performance. These courses do not satisfy the CARTS graduation requirement, but can be taken as elective credits towards graduation. These courses as well are open to students regardless of level of previous experience, as there is a Basic Musicianship course for those with no familiarity with Western music notation. Courses include individual or small-group instruction in voice, piano, jazz, conducting and strings, as well as performing ensembles ranging from chamber groups, jazz and percussion ensembles, chorus, and concert band. All students have the opportunity to perform in recitals each semester, including on stage in the Soka Performing Arts Center.

In my beginning ceramics class, I try to be encouraging and supportive because at this level, it’s all about discovery and learning what’s possible. Teaching at Soka has been so rewarding because my students are from such diverse backgrounds and cultures and the classes are small so I can give a lot of attention to each student.

Don Ryan
Adjunct Instructor of Ceramics

Our Faculty

Adjunct Instructor - Music
wan chin chang
Adjunct Instructor - Voice
Generic Portrait Outline
Professor of Music Composition and Theory
Director of the Creative Arts Program
michael golden
Adjunct Instructor - Music History
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Adjunct Instructor - Photography
mark kirchner
Adjunct Instructor - Music
Alfred Lang
Associate Professor of Studio Art
Image of Anne Pearce
Adjunct Instructor - Jazz
Image of Ryan Pryor.
Adjunct Instructor - Ceramics
Don Ryan

Artist in Residence

Professor Emeritus of Painting/Drawing
arie galles