Just about two years ago, a bright-eyed and energized 19-year-old stood behind a small lectern staring out across a sea of about 40 faces. These people, at least to him, looked and sounded a lot more mature than he was, though they were really only a year or two older. That boy, dressed in colorful plaid pants and donning a Chewbacca-fur sweatshirt, choking through the speech he had to present to the group, was vying for a spot on the board of The Heights.
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I was that 19-year-old. Now, just under two years later, I’m relinquishing my spot on the board as the arts & review editor in an attempt to fly the coop that is the U.S. and lose myself for a while in an Italian landscape for the next semester. Before I go, though, I wanted to share some final thoughts on my experience with BC’s arts community, my hopes for its future, and a few pieces of advice to those that work so tirelessly to put on the countless shows and exhibits my colleagues and I have written about throughout my time with this newspaper.
It might be a little difficult for me to talk about the artistic and creative talent that this school holds. I don’t really have a fair comparison for this school’s arts landscape. I can say, however, that over the last two years I have seen some of the most captivating performances, art, and music that I have encountered in my life.
The theatre department’s rendition of Servant of Two Masters was the most fun I’ve ever had in a theater. Last Friday’s Southeast Asian Student Association Dance Showcase gave me a fantastic view of the spectrum of styles that BC’s dance crews cross (I haven’t been to Showdown before). Faculty and student art shows and exhibits, both large and small, have shown me the variability of mediums that people of all ages at BC are capable of manipulating to make something both beautiful and original. The many bands and singers I have come across here, of which many have graduated and some are just coming into the limelight, garner some of the arts culture’s biggest crowds and have been bold enough to bring their music into several city venues. Simply put, in my time here, there hasn’t been a subset of the BC arts community that is lacking.
As was especially apparent at the BC bOp! rehearsal I attended last week, you all put an extraordinary amount of work, study, and dedication into your crafts. Over the last two years, my fellow editors and I have attended many such rehearsals, writing features on several groups across campus. We’ve been given just a brief look at the work behind the scenes of the many acts that grace venues across and away from campus. With these glimpses, we’ve had a taste of what goes into the planning and enacting of some of the artistic expressions seen around campus.
Sadly, though, I think these efforts go unnoticed by many that come to see these performances and exhibits. I’ve heard time and again from students and professors alike that they have this same fear—that viewers have this perception that what they’re seeing on stage was thrown together with minimal effort. It’s a sad, yet understandable mentality, and it applies to viewers of all types of arts coming from anyone.
This is where the arts & review section is supposed to come into the fold. It has been and will continue to be our job to show anyone who picks up a copy of The Heights or finds themselves on our website that the students and faculty here put their hearts and souls into the work that they put around campus. Artists here might not be performing on the world’s stage or in front of tens of thousands of people, but it’s our job to act like they are and to encourage them that their work is as meaningful as the work of any of the world’s megastars—which, to some degree, it is. We work tirelessly to uphold our mindsets and constantly think of new ways to express our investments and interests in the projects we write about.
There is always room for improvement in this community on campus, as well. I’ve always been fascinated with the collaborations that I’ve seen throughout my time here. There should be more, though—collaborations expanding across types of performances. Student bands playing with dance groups. A cappella groups being incorporated into theater productions. These types of unions would give performers a sense of the larger community at play in BC’s arts world, and I guarantee future Heights writers would go crazy for these kinds of things.
Artists on campus need to advertise themselves more. I’ve spent hour after hour poring through events calendars and through hallways looking for events to cover for an upcoming weekend. Make it impossible for students not to know that there’s a comedy show this weekend. Put up a huge banner. Nag students and faculty roaming through the quads (I know some groups do this already, but do it more!). Find inventive ways to promote the awareness of events and programs. Students will take them in. Also, reach out to these new editors. I can assure that they will always be looking for captivating things and people on campus to cover and, in a sense, they can use all the help they can get. It’s not always easy finding the hippest new project at BC.
And with all this, I bid a fond adieu to The Heights and all those I’ve worked with to promote and review art on campus. It’s been a blast. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about music, movies, and TV shows that were meaningful to me, but I know I also did my best to promote what I thought were some of the most creative and expressive people on campus.
When Jon Stewart signed off from The Daily Show for the final time, he had a lot to say about leaving, but he wanted to make it clear to viewers that that wasn’t the last time they’d see him.
“Rather than saying goodbye or goodnight, I’m going to get a drink,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll see you guys before I leave.”
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor