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Letter to the editor: Performing arts essential to students

SCOTT MACDONALD | Alumnus

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This is a tragic development. Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and the long form essay are all part and parcel of the “arts,” as well as the performing arts such as dance, theatre and musical theatre. The visual arts, which include sculpture, painting and mixed media have become intertwined in business and entertainment as tech has advanced. Also, on a college campus, the value of installation art is a vital concept and an essential aspect of campus living.

Developing a taste for, or even against, these constructs via actualized experience are transferable artistic and interpretative aspects to any profession. Most of all, they are vital to a well-rounded foundation for critical thinking. Clarity of written and spoken expression, along with collaboration and creative thought sharing are all the skill sets engendered by participants of these art courses.

Students can wallow in, and glean crucial critical thinking tools and learn to be quick on their feet in any business-related “performance” situation and begin to use transferable communicative skills from these courses and activities at the college level.

Slashing the arts is too often the first choice — and it is a monstrously detrimental decision when one considers the hybrid cultural aspects of business and tech and the melding of media on the rapidly changing realms of the professional workplace. It is unconscionable to call a communication degree “one of the best in the nation” when it lacks any opportunity for performance-based experiences — even if it is merely a speech or theatre minor.

Preparing students for an engaging life — a rich, meaningful and well-rounded existence, beyond just job level and salary — is the reason for the necessity of arts exposure while in the beautiful open-minded cocoon of college. Understanding of self, and of course empathy for others, is often generated via exposure to these very art forms — and in my opinion, form the basis of developing the qualities of people and of responsible citizenship. Find another way, WSU.

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Letter to the editor: Performing arts essential to students