Kelly Rappleye, Contributing Writer
Although San Francisco is a city thriving with art culture, it seems the SF State campus is not reflecting that. Art awareness and appreciation on campus is at an extreme low. With little opportunity for fine art majors to showcase their work and low awareness from their peers, we all suffer from this situation.
According to the SF State Art Department’s event calendar, more than 10 theatrical and musical performances are already scheduled, while only two gallery events are set to display the works of the fine arts department. This is wonderful for students of cinema, theater and music, but it seems the students of fine arts are being neglected.
Not only is there a disparity in the number of exhibitions, but these gallery events also group together all of the various different forms in the fine arts category, including photography, printmaking, ceramics and textiles. In doing so, fine art students have much less of an opportunity to fully express their personal mediums. Compare this to the San Jose State’s campus that has already scheduled special guest lectures on collage paintings and even typography. Art students spend countless hours perfecting their craft, and only get two chances to share their work. It’s not fair.
To add insult to injury, the shows that do end up taking place are very poorly publicized. We have two fully stocked art galleries tucked away in the Fine Arts Building, the Martin Wong Gallery and the Fine Arts Gallery. I know that most, if not all, of my peers who are not in the art department do not know that these galleries exist.
Perhaps this is because the galleries are closed when they are not showing exhibits, which, as we can see, means they are closed most of the year. There are roughly 700 students who major in the arts and they are working hard in so many fields, so why are they excluded from the mainstream school campus? When I walk through the Cesar Chavez Student Center I see fliers and posters for hundreds of clubs and organizations, including big banners for school plays, but I’ve never seen a single one about a gallery showing for the year and a half I have attended this University.
The exclusion of fine arts from the rest of our campus is detrimental to all of us. Art provides us with different perspectives on life and culture. It opens our minds to a different way of thinking and is such an important part of our emerging economy and world. According to the Arts Council of Indianapolis, every $1 of local government support for the arts generates at least $5 in return to the local economy, and in Indianapolis, Ind., alone the arts community supports more than 15,000 full-time jobs.
Art is a worldwide job-maker in everything from computer graphics to website photography. It clearly adds to the lives of each and every one of us, so it’s time to start putting it back into the SF State way of life and stop overlooking it.