The underappreciated arts

Kristen Riello

As an interactive digital design (IDD) major and a fine arts minor, I am always looking for ways around campus to share artwork with others and be involved in the art community. But I have also seen how underappreciated the arts are at this school. Although things are getting better since our IDD Mac lab is moving into the new Center for Communications and Engineering next year, we have always had a hard time getting into our IDD classes since the current lab is so small and can only fit a certain amount of students. Most people don’t even know our major exists.

It’s disappointing that our school is a liberal arts school, yet the “arts” are so neglected. Since a fine arts course is required for most students, you would think that more resources could be put towards the arts. There’s only one tiny room for all of the art classes and such limited supplies.

Think about beyond just visual arts. Buckman Theater is so small, yet filled with such talented individuals. Don’t they deserve a bigger stage? It seems like left and right other programs are getting a new this or that, and Buckman Theater is just sitting there patiently waiting for its turn, unsure of when it will come.

In my experience with the art classes here, we have rarely been allowed to take out nice paper for our projects. Sometimes we have to use paper that is basically like printer paper, which obviously isn’t good to paint on. They frequently run out of paint colors like white and the primary colors, and there are very limited colors to begin with. There’s no one really monitoring what is being taken either. This is discouraging for a lot of students who already feel intimidated and inadequate when it comes to arts. If students were given better quality materials to work with, I think that they would take better care of them and put more effort into the projects, therefore growing the art classes here. It’s definitely not solely the issue of better materials, but it’s student motivation in these classes. They go hand-in-hand with helping each other improve.

There are organizations here that keep the arts alive like Montage, which showcases student artwork and writing. A lot of the student media organizations are really good about supporting us design students and utilizing us to our full potential. The amazingly creative and talented students are the ones who consistently try to keep the arts alive.

The truth is we aren’t an art school. We all know that. But this school isn’t just meant for certain majors; it’s meant for the whole community. We are all different and unique, and our differences need to be celebrated, not neglected and pushed aside as if they are less important.

It’s sad that during my time here I probably will not see much change in the art programs, but I hope that future students will continue to keep the arts alive within the community. I hope that I can make positive changes in the art community as well. I think it’s up to all of us designers, painters, creative writers, poets, drawers and supporters to keep the arts alive in this community.