Let’s get creative

Moira Weinstein, Contributing Writer

The University is known as a highly successful STEM school, graduating successful engineers, chemists and psychologists from across the country. Yet, the rest of the student community often feels left out, less worthy of the high academic reputation and  excluded from many important career statistics. When I tell people that I’m a music major, I always get the same confused yet amazed look. “Music is a major here?” Yes it is – so is theater, dance, English and a number of other things that people overlook at this school. Hidden in McDonnell, arts students aren’t often seen around campus. Music buildings are crouched behind Coleman and the Quad, where engineering students walk to get to their classes. It seems that too many people have no idea that the arts is a thriving culture here. 

Concerts take place each semester, with the jazz band and orchestra performing several pieces that they’ve worked on each week. Senior recitals occur in the Rooke Recital Hall. Don’t confuse this space with Rooke Chemistry Building – it’s a little theater deep inside the Weis Music Building, where guest musicians and artists come in to perform free concerts for all of Lewisburg. Last week, wonderfully talented clarinetist David Shifrin played with one of our own piano teachers, Qing Jiang. I wouldn’t have even known about the performance had it not been for my  Chamber Music course, which takes place in the same building.  I attended, expecting some other music kids and no other guests. Yet instead I found a hall filled with Lewisburg residents who might not have seen live music in as many as 18 months. It was an incredibly heartwarming experience.

Nothing brings people together like a love for the arts. Musicals, movie nights, favorite songs and visits to the museum on field trips – we don’t often think about how big a part the arts play in our life. When we absentmindedly flip on an animated film, we often don’t recognize that the characters are made up of hours and hours of drawing and designing, not to mention patience. One minute of TV time represents sometimes days of work for the artists who put together the pictures on screen. Or when we’re stargazing and listening to Harry Styles or Taylor Swift, we fail to remember that they worked incredibly hard to produce beautiful melodies and lyrics that make us smile – or, more often than not, cry. Art is life, the foundation of modern society, and I think it’s time we start incorporating it into students’ daily lives.

As I mentioned before, concerts do indeed take place on campus all throughout the year. So do a capella performances, dance shows, improv nights and endless other events created by underappreciated artists. I think we should advertise them with as much effort as we did the A$AP Ferg and DJ Diesel concerts. Performers and artists are a part of our community, and they all deserve our support. It is also important to enjoy art as much as possible, because it is integral to mental health and self-care. It encourages expression and relaxation that are necessary for thriving at such a stressful point in our lives. Art benefits the community and the mind, and is a wonderful way to come together and bring a private smile to our masked faces.

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