Arts Fee makes free student performances possible

Rebecca Campbell

Students will be able to go to the first student theatre production of the school year, “Big Love,” without needing to buy a ticket. The Student Arts Fee added to tuition this year covers ticket prices.

The new $15 semester fee, paid by students of freshman through senior status, gives full-time undergraduate students the opportunity to see most performances without paying for tickets. According to the Bursar’s Office, the fee allows for free admission to all arts events on campus, as well as regular ticked events sponsored by Theatre and Dance, Music, Art and Fashion Design and Merchandising.

John Crawford, dean of the College of the Arts, said the college wants more students to be aware of the arts and make it more accessible.

“The purpose of the fee is to expand arts opportunities for everybody on campus, like with the upcoming Fall for the Arts Festival,” Crawford said. “We will be able to have a big event in the fall and bring in a guest speaker of note and guest artist of note that will interest the campus community.”

Andrea Shearer, the School of Dance director, said the extra funds would provide more flexibility with costumes, music and sets.

“It helps because it helps our productions. Budgets have gone up, and with prices rising on everything, it limits our students,” Shearer said. “Sometimes we have to change our music because we don’t have enough money. Having the fee will have us make better decisions.”

Students said they were not fully aware of the new fee, but they’re not against it.

“They should have promoted it more,” said senior English major Kira Braham. “It’s a great way to get people involved.”

Senior English major Patrick Adams said he would take advantage of the arts fee and go to performances.

“I think it’s great,” Adams said. “I wanted to go before but it was too much money, but I will now.”

Crawford said art is everywhere on campus, like on the Esplanade and at university gatherings and functions, but sometimes the realization of the impact it has is taken for granted. He said the arts fee should increase the awareness.

“[Art] makes the quality of life worth living,” Crawford said. “It’s hard to put a price on it because the value is so much. It’s just a way to increase how art impacts our lives.”

Contact Rebecca Campbell at [email protected].