Make campus art visible

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

March 7, 2008 Ed Cartoon

When we look at the artwork of Western students, it begs the question: why it isn’t more visible on campus? How good a job does the university do promoting campus artists?

It is clear that Western’s primary focus is not on students of the arts. That is to be expected at a research-intensive university.

The result is that campus is not particularly conducive to the arts. Opportunities for artists to share their work with other students are few.

It should be noted that some facets of the arts get a fair amount of attention. Certain musical acts and Theatre Western productions, such as this year’s performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, have been well advertised in the past.

Especially in the case of visual arts, though, many events are all but invisible to the average student.

This is in part because the responsibility for promoting these events falls on the students who organize them. Wide-scale promotion is often not an option for smaller groups.

As such, it’s important for administration and the University Students’ Council to aid students in promoting the arts. Both parties should be making an effort to bring campus art into Western’s mainstream.

The simplest step towards doing this is to display student art on campus; something more significant than the once-a-year Festival of the Arts in the University Community Centre Atrium or the twice-a-year exhibit in the McIntosh Gallery, which students are likely to breeze by rather than pay attention.

The best way to display art would be simply to put it up as a regular fixture around campus buildings. This is an effective way to showcase visual arts without incurring a high cost.

The university could even commission student artists to paint murals on the Social Science Centre. It is inconceivable that SSC could get any uglier, so at the very least campus might look more appealing while showcasing campus artists.

Academic changes are also needed. The university is now in the process of creating a degree in theatre, which it currently lacks.

Also important is allowing non-arts students a medium to learn about the arts. It’s virtually impossible for students in other disciplines to take courses in subjects such as photography.

These skills can help promote a more diverse and well-rounded university and help students later in life.

Most importantly, programs like this can help promote the arts on campus.

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