Art matters | School of Creative Arts designation gives needed recognition

Amarillo College’s decision to create the School of Creative Arts is music to our ears. This news may cause you to wonder: What designation were the creative arts degrees under previously? They didn’t already have their own separate division? The answer? No.

AC’s School of Creative Arts is a brand new division that encompasses music, mass media, theater and visual arts. The collaboration of these programs undeniably will strengthen them and provide the students with insight into the variety of opportunities the creative arts offer.

“The new School of Creative Arts not only symbolizes our continued community-wide support of the arts but also underscores our real commitment to building those programs within the college and encouraging their growth,” according to Dr. Deborah Vess, vice president of academic affairs. AC has a vast history of supporting the arts throughout our community, and the establishment of this division reinforces that.

More important, the move calls attention to the significance of these programs. This distinct division provides a call for action — a call for these programs to be seen as valuable and necessary to AC, because they are.

The degree programs that lead to the best job placement or highest salaries often receive the most recognition. We do not deny the need for nurses and technicians in our area or the incredible job AC does starting students toward futures in engineering and medicine, but the arts are equally important. Indeed, the programs housed in this division encompass all that makes us human.

As poet and former National Endowment for the Arts Chair Dana Gioia explained, “Art is an irreplaceable way of understanding and expressing the world. There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs or images. Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions.”

Furthermore, studying art, design, music, theater and media boosts problem-solving and communication skills and increases imagination and creativity. The well-rounded college graduate must have exposure to these areas regardless of his or her major or career goals

AC serves as an important community arts presenter, partner and producer. AC displays praiseworthy works of photography, painting and sculpture all over campus, and the program that teaches students to create such works deserves recognition. AC also produces about four plays or musicals a year while sponsoring a large children’s theater program.

AC students study opera with international opera star Mary Jane Johnson and win statewide and national awards in journalism, graphic design, advertising and theater. AC offers numerous musical ensembles from concert choir to jazz band, chamber orchestra, vocal jazz, wind ensemble — the list goes on and on. AC has the only campus in our area that houses a TV station.

AC also provides students with the incredible opportunity to learn how to be editors of a real newspaper and magazine to further their success. AC has the area’s only digital recording arts program. AC teaches violin to children as young as 3 in the Suzuki program. Not to mention, AC is the only college in our area with a 100,000-watt radio station. We could continue to list the many culturally enriching opportunities AC provides, but our point is made.

As Ranger staff members, we want to thank the AC administration for recognizing the value of these programs and for taking the proactive step to unite them. Making a commitment to arts education in our area is essential, and AC is sending a message that the college will do all it can to support arts, entertainment and cultural enrichment. As President Barack Obama said, ““The future belongs to young people with an education and the imagination to create.”

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