Don't Miss All the Beauty at Your Doorstep
Editorial Board | Oct. 4, 2013, 6:44 p.m.
Pomona College's Neuroscience and Dance Departments are co-hosting the Moving Mind Symposium this weekend in an attempt to bridge the gap between the arts and sciences. Meanwhile, the semester-long speaker series hosted by the Pomona English Department, “The Heart of the Liberal Arts: Humanities in the Liberal Arts College,” examines the utility of the liberal arts model. The two events, among the many others that occur on campus each semester, stress the importance of bringing myriad perspectives into the pursuit of knowledge. Moreover, these interdisciplinary programs bolster the argument that the arts and humanities should hold a high priority in college curricula, which are sometimes cast as less crucial than STEM fields.
At the 5Cs, there are many students who participate in the arts, whether that means singing in the choir, taking a wheel-throwing class, or acting in theater productions. What we do not have, however, is a healthy student audience to appreciate these artists. The campuses abound with movie buffs and bookworms, but engagement with the 5C student- and faculty-based art scene is harder to find.
For instance, the 5Cs are home to two orchestras, three choirs, and a Glee Club. Each group performs several times throughout the school year, but their events are sparsely attended by 5C students, especially those who are not already acquainted with members of those groups. How many opportunities will 5C students have to hear an orchestra play Beethoven or Tchaikovsky free of charge?
Three of the 5Cs—Pitzer, Pomona, and Scripps—also boast impressive museums and galleries with strong collections ranging from Japanese woodblock prints to contemporary photography. The Pomona College Museum of Art is home to one of the world’s largest collections of Native American art, not to mention the complete first editions of each series of legendary printmaker Francisco de Goya's etchings. How many people will pass through Claremont without ever seeing one painting in the remarkable collection of art that is housed at the 5Cs?
There are poetry slams, theater productions, and dance recitals for students to watch and enjoy. How many students never see some of the most creative young minds in the country sing in musicals or recite their poems?
5C students are, admittedly, very busy people. Many have lofty ambitions and seemingly more commitments than hours in a day. But if the Moving Mind symposium teaches us anything, it is that we cannot keep blinders on while traveling our individual paths if we hope to understand and participate in the world to the best of our abilities. That means taking the time out of our week to appreciate what our classmates have spent hours perfecting even if the product is not something we know much about. Engaging with someone else's work helps us become more aware of the different people populating our world—including their artistic creations and unique perspectives—which will help us gain as much as we can from these colleges.
There is art, knowledge, and remarkable creativity waiting to be explored at the Claremont Colleges, from the orchestra to the art museums, and it is a shame that so many may never experience them. So before you leave Claremont, take it upon yourself to see a play in the Seaver Large Studio, or hear a student band play at the Grove House. Appreciate all the art and creativity around you before it's too late.