No Encore for the Fine Arts?

In certain communities it seems that the Fine Arts are underappreciated compared to other groups. While Central High School does have a good fine arts program, members of the program notice the inequalities that are present.

The Fine Arts is a group of activities that require much skill to bring a pleasant visual or creative art to an audience. This often includes music (orchestra and band), theater, painting, and dance.

Chelsie Nunez, a Senior at Central, who has participated in the school orchestra, marching band, and in two theater productions. She explains her disappointment that Fine Arts students often face at Central.

“Being a part of something so talented is amazing, but not getting recognition compared to other activities is a real disappointment to me.”

Nunez continues, explaining why she stays in the Fine Arts even with the lack of recognition.

“It’s difficult. However, fine arts have given me a place to express myself and discover interests I would’ve never found interesting. Playing my violin keeps me relaxed and lets steam out, while being in musicals made me realize how much I love the dances, singing, and overall production of the show.”

Melody Song, a Senior at Central High School, has been involved in art programs, multiple plays, and been in multiple bands at Central. She has seen the difference in appreciation given to different groups at Central.

“I feel that even though I feel very proud of my work, it doesn’t get as much attention as many of the sports teams do when they have a game. Even if they lose, it is still more talked about that any of the fine arts achievements.”

She admits to not ‘craving’ the attention that other groups might, but the lack of recognition can be difficult.

“At the same time, I do not crave the attention that sports teams get. It might be nice to get approval or validation, but I still enjoy participating in the programs I am a part of currently.”

Nunez and Song aren’t the only ones to push through the difficulties that come with being invested in the Fine Arts. Enddy Almonord, a Central senior, is the Drum Major of the Central marching band, participates in multiple plays a year, and is involved the — band. She believed that there are biases at central toward certain groups.

“Athletics generally receive more praise than band and theatre. For example, almost every day in announcements, students are recognized for their athletic achievements. Almost never do I hear anything about students who made all state band or choir.”

She continued by talking about how there are other forms of unfairness, shown through teachers.

“There are also often times where students in band or theatre have to miss a day of two of school, and have agreed to make up work and catch up.” She explains. “But all too often, I see teachers either obviously complaining or chastising students for their decision to participate (in the theatre or band), yet cheer the basketball team on as they are hailed out of the classroom in the middle of a lesson.”

A big fear for fine arts students is the question of whether or not their dedication or work will be appreciated in college and beyond. Almonord shared her fear of how colleges might look at students strongly involved in the Fine Arts.

“Colleges tend to overlook how much time students put into fine arts, and the lessons they learn. They seem to value athletes more. I often wonder if I am wasting my time, often devoting most of my time to these programs and doubting that colleges will see the value in it.”

Ray Boehmer, an Urbana resident and retired professor who has participated in the fine arts in the past, agreed that they are an important part of communities and give a lot to the students who take part in the. He’s seen first hand what student can gain from being in the fine arts, and what could be lost by not appreciating them.

“From personal experience and observing other programs in various communities in Illinois and other states, I would say that it would be a real shame if a community did not have a well supported fine arts program. It gives kids something to belong to and make friends, plus a chance to learn some really useful things – like how to read music, appreciate some history and music history, get “cultchad” (who the heck was Mozart, anyway?), and learn how to count!”

 

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