Written By | ALMA BUSTAMANTE | Editor-in-chief |
Amarillo College has consolidated all the arts under a new division as of March 21. The School of Creative Arts includes the music, theater, mass media and visual arts and design programs. Dr. Deborah Vess, vice president of academic affairs, decided to create the new school to highlight the arts in general.
“Our arts programs have a very fine reputation in the state as well as locally, and in some cases nationally,” Vess said.
“It’s just really time to refocus our efforts with the arts, because they were in a division with many other kinds of programs. They weren’t really receiving the kind of attention that we need to give them.”
In addition, Vess said she hopes that with the change, enrollment will increase in those areas. Vess appointed Victoria Taylor-Gore as dean of the School of Creative Arts and Jill Gibson as associate dean. “Vicky is a famous artist; she has a national reputation,” Vess said. “Vicky was the best person for the job, and I think that was clear to everyone.”
Vess also highlighted Gibson’s abilities and said the partnership will bring in new ideas. “Jill is an incredibly creative and very talented person,” she said. “She was selected because of the leadership ability that she has demonstrated in the past and her ability to lead programs that we already have.
“She and Vicky Taylor-Gore have had a partnership across different departments for quite some time. Now they are together, and they are able to do things that they weren’t able to do before.”
While the arts may get a reputation of something that is not needed, Taylor-Gore said they are an important part of a well-rounded education. “Any of these disciplines create creative and critical thinkers, because we solve problems,” she said. “We think out of the box. The creative energy is important.”
Primarily, Taylor-Gore and Gibson said they want to get the word out about their programs and give publicity to all the diverse areas to highlight their significance.
There are no plans to modify degree plans or change the locations of classes in the four programs. The change primarily means there will be more opportunities for the art majors to cross over and learn new skills. “There are so many possibilities that we will run across that we haven’t even thought of yet,” Taylor-Gore said.
For example, photography students might find it helpful to learn about video shooting and editing. Mass media students might increase their job performance if they learn about graphic design, or theater majors could benefit from collaborating with film students. “Each area will remain distinct,’ said Taylor-Gore, but more degrees and certificates could arise with a combination of the disciplines. “It opens up more possibilities,” she said.
Mass media major Salvador Gutierrez disagrees with the fact that his major should be combined with the arts. He said he believes mass media should be with social studies because they relate better. “Mass media can nurture more from careers related to social studies to be better prepared,” Gutierrez said. “We need to know what is happening in the world and learn how to treat certain topics.”
While areas in the new school still will be able to cooperate with non-art areas, Taylor-Gore said she is “thrilled that Amarillo College is bringing all these disciplines together in a very productive way.” She said she will do her best in her new job to support and encourage her faculty. “I love my faculty; I love my students,” she said. “I love to think creatively. I’m open to new ideas. I will always be accessible to them.”