PSFA unveils Art’s Visibility Initiative

by Andrea Ciardiello

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This semester, San Diego State’s College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts unveiled the Art’s Visibility Initiative, a project that stems from the institutional goals set by the “Building on Excellence” strategic plan, finalized earlier this year.

As part of the plan, the university intends to invest funds into more arts events, utilizing the Open Air Theatre, new Aztec Student Union, Aztec Green and Love Library.

The program received one-time funds from the strategic plan, PSFA Community Engagement and Innovative Programs Director Randy Reinholz said. Other departments have also offered funding and volunteered time to help support the initiative.

“Through the strategic planning process we had this recognition that there wasn’t as much of awareness of the arts on campus that there should be … The idea of the arts visibility program on one hand is to showcase art student talent, but also to have art making possibilities for all SDSU students.”

Reinholz said PSFA is working in collaboration with the Love Library to incorporate more visual and performance arts in the Dome.

“Art Under the Dome,” is a pilot project that began this semester with short performances in Love Library. The first installment took place on Nov. 8, featuring a string quintet and a harp and violin duo—two SDSU student chamber music ensembles sponsored by the School of Music and Dance.

Reinholz said the program has also collaborated with Student Life and Leadership, Associated Students and Facilities Services to build the connection needed to implement such events.

“It is clear to me that the time is right for building a culture of arts on this campus. The Art’s Visibility Initiative has gained a great deal of support and is successful already thanks to the work of people across campus who are committed to a ‘make it happen’ attitude,” Reinholz said.

Other projects planned include bench painting, campus art installations and a featured day during the weeklong opening celebration of the new Aztec Student Union.

Aztec Student Union Board student representative Katie Shortill is planning an art and culture dedication day during the opening week. Shortill said having accessible art on campus allows students to think creatively, even within rigid class schedules.

“I think the arts visibility movement is a wonderful way to enhance the recognition of the amazing art, music and performances that our fellow students create. It is important to showcase the arts around campus to express the diversity of the SDSU campus community,” Shortill said.

PSFA Assistant Dean for Student Affairs Randi McKenzie said art can provide a vehicle for students to examine and explore their surroundings.

McKenzie acknowledged that SDSU has a valuable role to play in enabling the San Diego community to engage in the experiences and dialogue involving the arts.

“Many people, due to their educational upbringing, have had limited access to the performing and visual arts.  The arts open doors to the imagination. Arts can be transformative. Educational background or socioeconomic status should not be a barrier to exposing people to the arts,” McKenzie said.

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