Week 10 Reflective Writing

The idea of a liberal arts school without a fine and performing art department is absolutely absurd to me. Even if there were financial issues cutting the whole department seems excessive. The whole letter felt like it was creating reasons to cut the department, not listing actual issues. It’s like they don’t understand what theater does. I think that idea of teaching people in primary school that theater and art aren’t just pretty and entertainment but can share a message and make you think might change the prevailing idea of theater.  So many of the shows were criticized for LGBT+ content, which might have been a fair complaint 40 years ago, but in this era that content is much more accepted and should be see on stage more. I think the biggest issue I had was that it felt like such an unnecessary step. If the school had an issue with the content, they should talk to the department about the shows or how the shows are advertised, not just cut funding as a first step. This, of course, is still censorship but it feels more acceptable, perhaps because it gives the department a chance to say no, we want to challenge people and make them think. I think this is similar to the idea we talked about in class how self-censorship is not very common anymore and people instead go to these extremes of shutting down the art.

The article about Mapplethorpe mentioned that after the original exhibit closed another museum took the collection and displayed it, and because of the controversy and the media attention a lot of people went that might not have otherwise. There was a video that interviewed people who saw the exhibit and none of them seemed upset or disgusted, they seemed to have found it interesting and it made them think. So those who are ready to see some thought-provoking art were able to go, and if you didn’t want to, there was no obligation to.

I do think we should publicly fund the arts because it’s a big industry with lots of people and lots of income. Not only are those people supported since they have jobs, they can also do what they care about, and the rest of the community gets access to art. Theater has such value, not only as art, but also to share stories and make people think and that should be accessible to all.

word count: 407

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