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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Fall Arts Preview: Who Cares?

<ounded, liberal arts experience is what draws students to a place like Carleton. The promise of being “more than just a student” or living in a community that is “more than just academics” is not only icing on the cake. For a lot of us, it’s why we’re here.

But given the average Carleton workload, is there ample opportunity to really engage with art, music, theater and dance outside of a classroom setting? Have we as a community unconsciously confined the majority of the artistic process at Carleton to the confines of the Weitz Center for Creativity and Boliou Hall? Do people outside of certain majors and certain artistic groups care about art as part of their Carleton experience?

This term alone there will be hundreds of opportunities for students to explore the arts outside the classroom. The Carleton Slam Poetry Collective will host three slams at the Cave to select a team of students to compete at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, a national slam in March being held at UC-Boulder; The Pearlman Teaching Center is currently hosting two exhibits with over thirty contributing artists; Faculty music recitals will take place throughout the term on a nearly weekly basis; the Theater department and the Carleton Players will perform Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night starting on October 31st; and Semaphore repertory dance company will host its fall dance concert in early November, just to name a few. And the list goes on.

But will people take advantage of these opportunities, or is art at Carleton created by a cohort of self-selecting groups who either choose to pursue the creation of art through their studies or value and prioritize the creative process outside of an academic setting?

According to a senior, “The only time I ever went to a play was freshman year.  I went because a friend was going and there was nothing else to do. When I saw it I was like ‘Wow, they’re actually really good.’”

How many times have you walked by the Pearlman teaching Center and actually seen somebody inside, exploring the exhibits? We as a larger community seem content with the knowledge that art exists within the confines of our campus.

Actually taking the time away from our books and our jobs to paint or draw or dance or act is something that people do on an individual level, but the “culture” of the larger Carleton community towards art is inherently apathetic. It’s a culture of supporting friends who choose to spend their time creating. Engagement with what they create is not the important part, simply showing up is what matters. The art loses its voice.

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