Arts draw thoughtful audiences

Kellie Bowen, Staff Writer

There is a lot of debate as to whether or not the art department is getting as much attention as the sports department.

From experience and observation, the sports, sciences and arts are getting the same amount of publicity, but why do more people attend football games than gallery exhibits?

The Theater and Art department’s Administrative Coordinator, Vicky Ragsdale, says, “It’s up to each department to publicize their events.”

The arts are covered the same ways that sports are covered, however, the turnouts at a gallery exhibits are not as well attended as a sports events.

The National Endowment for the Arts found in a study that if a person had not attended a live performance or had gone to a gallery before they graduate college, then nine out of ten of those people never went to one as an adult.

Ragsdale incorporated a Linfield perspective to the study: “One of our responsibilities is to build audiences for the future … and fulfill that life-long learning experience for students.”

According to the FAQ section on the Linfield Review, at least 30% of the student body are participating in a team sport. That’s about one third of Linfield that finds an interest in sports.

The locations of the art and music departments may be discouraging to those who don’t have a strong desire to check them out.

However, Freshman Lili Stott suggested that if people had a visual preview of what a gallery exhibit or performance contains, it could be an eye-catcher for people that are not involved in the arts.

However, the music and theater departments get large auditorium-sized audiences that include both Linfield students and McMinnville residence.

The music department publicizes the same way as the fine arts and sports department.

Senior Doug Sundman argues that there is a difference of engagement between the two events.

“Art asks the viewer to confront something whereas sports games just asks viewers to invest time during the viewing. There’s no effort, it’s a spectatorship versus an active observation.”

Senior Julian Adoff says that Merit Berning, the curator in residence, “is talking to people to put art throughout the campus. She even put in a proposal to put something up in Walker Hall to get student art in there.”

Adoff also says that by putting student art throughout the campus, they are starting to build a collection of student art, which will eventually become alumni art.

Sports enthusiast Matt Totaro says about sports, “there’s movement, it’s fast paced and it’s unpredictable.” Totaro added, “Sport is its own art form.”

Perhaps it’s not that the arts aren’t getting enough publicity, sports just seem to be the more popular event interest at Linfield.