Support local art and music on campus

Chris Kok

The two greatest capabilities humans have are their curiosity and creativity. These two human traits have allowed us to progress to our current place in the world. For societies to develop, there had to be agriculture, which could not have developed if humans were not curious about how plants grow. Nor could it have developed if humans couldn’t use their knowledge to grow them.

Curiosity and creativity take place in many forms. During the Renaissance, people concentrated on these two abilities, leading not only to some of the most famous art in history, but also to a great deal of scientific and engineering breakthroughs. It is not a coincidence that these breakthroughs happened alongside art. Creativity in one field affects creativity in other fields.

Now we live in a world that stifles these assets. The radio feeds us a very limited variety of music, and television plays the same repetitive reality shows. Schools serve to tame kids, killing curiosity and creativity in the process. Students walk around this campus, past brick building after brick building, without looking at the world around them. It is time to re-awaken our creative potential.

To do this, Kent State should promote student-produced music and art on campus. The university should make it easy for local bands to play on campus either in Risman Plaza, the Student Center or other places around campus. The soundtrack to Kent State could be the unique rock of the Parsley Flakes, the jams of Caribou Foot, the gospel of Voices of Testimony and other local musicians.

Kent State should also allow the School of Art to paint murals on campus. The murals should be limited to artists who are students here. The artwork could be chosen based on a vote by students and faculty. Art students would have an opportunity to gain recognition and to pad their portfolios. The School of Art would also develop a better reputation, attracting more students.

Take some time and walk through the first floor of Oscar Ritchie Hall. You will see camels walking through the desert while a red sun burns over distant mountains, and Malcolm X falling from the pulpit while clutching his chest as fire shoots out of the assassin’s gun. Art flows into art with no clear beginning or end; the walls come alive with shapes and colors. Imagine if this was all of campus, not just Oscar Ritchie Hall.

Art and music could be the sparks that reignite curiosity. Students would start wondering what they are going to find around the next corner. Creativity is contagious; the more there is on campus, the more a spill-over effect will take place.

As Kent State educates more creative people in their various fields, the graduates will be more productive, creating the innovations necessary for our economy to succeed. If Kent State can produce the sort of graduates that are needed in this global economy, the reputation of our university will improve. We should harness the curiosity and creativity of students here for the benefit of all involved.

Chris Kok is a senior international relations major and a point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].