One of the biggest benefits of living on a college campus is the abundance of creative work that happens. The Dance, Theater, and Music departments constantly produce work, the vast majority of which is free. Additionally, so many student groups, official and unofficial, create and produce their own work, again usually entirely free. Finally, student artists put their pieces up all across campus, opening their beautifully formed work to public viewing.
Support all this art as often, and as much as you are able. To begin, experiencing this much art becomes increasingly expensive after graduation. Attending performances costs money, often-prohibitive amounts for those attempting to pay off financial debt. Access to art galleries is not always free, and even if it is, daily access to the pieces in them is not feasible. While this wealth of art is available, it makes simple financial sense to take advantage of that opportunity.
More importantly, artists do not leave St. Olaf making living wages from their creative endeavors. Our society increasingly does not value the work that artists do in shaping culture and channeling emotion. Art gives us opportunities to reflect on our past, our present, and our potential futures. Artists are more than entertainers; they motivate, fantasize, project and protest. Take time to appreciate the ways in which it is important to society. Support the artists that may not be sustained once out of college by giving them a encouraging environment in which to develop and hone their talents.
Participating in art is more than a financial investment or an act of support for artists. It is a chance to participate in social dialogues and help to shape them towards important issues. Push artists to broach topics you find important. Confront artists that ignore the problems or issues facing their audiences.
Go see art. Go make it. Do not listen to those who claim it means nothing. Reclaim it as a tool to shape our reality.