ArtMatters

Spending too many hours in the Office of Career Counseling does funny things to your artistic side. You forget everything you once knew about the value of a liberal arts education and the necessity of being a well-rounded person. Your indoctrination into the study of resumes and interview etiquette and job searches begins with learning the official alphabet of the OCC: A is for accountant, B is for banker, C is for consultant… But now, a newly re-formed organization on campus is setting out to broaden the terms of that vocabulary.

ArtMatters, a student-run group long defunct and recently re-founded and recognized by College Council, seeks to remind Art Studio and Art History majors that their fields of study are in fact compatible with the need to earn a living. On a larger scale, ArtMatters intends to remind all Williams students that the creation, study, interpretation, and exhibition of art are in fact vocations with as much importance to our lives as those of consulting and investment banking. The members of ArtMatters endeavor to bring art to a more prominent position in the activities, social and intellectual, of the Williams community.

For those students interested in art-related careers, ArtMatters seeks to provide opportunities not usually found in the flyers on the OCC bulletin board. In addition to arranging sessions for students to meet with professionals in the fields of studio art, art history, and museum administration, ArtMatters hopes to arrange internships at the North Bennington Independent Artists’ Space.

Members of Art Matters will also be encouraged to submit art reviews and art criticism for publication in local newspapers. By engaging art students in the “real world” of art, ArtMatters hopes to “help establish, among both art studio and art history majors, an understanding of the relevance of their studies to the practicing art community,” say group leaders Kaiva Klimanis ’98, Yung-En Chen ’99 and Langley Eide ’98.

A second and equally important goal of the group is to spark interest and enthusiasm for art in the entire Williams community. Weekly group meetings will be held to discuss issues of importance in art and the artistic community and to plan art-related events on campus. Such events will include seminars, exhibits, and field trips to local museums and museums in Boston and New York City.

By creating and publicizing such opportunities, Art Matters aims to expose Williams students to creative movements and techniques with which they might otherwise be unfamiliar. ArtMatters also intends to provoke discussions among students about art and its place in our modern culture. In expanding students’ notions of what art is and how it contributes to our society Art Matters hopes to deepen their commitment to and appreciation of art.

ArtMatters seeks to reveal the treasure trove of art available to Williams students right on their doorsteps. Programs at the Williams College Museum of Art and at the Clark Art Institute will be arranged for Williams students and the Williams community. ArtMatters members will devote special attention to the role of the Williams College Museum of Art as both a teaching device and a forum for exhibition. Members will also investigate and document the history of art and the Art Department at Williams College, hoping to preserve that history for generations of future Williams students.

If Klimanis, Chen, and Eide have their way, art students and enthusiasts will never have to doubt the practicality of their interests. Art will take its rightful place alongside all other fields of study and areas of occupation. Art Studio and Art History majors will never have to worry that their tuition dollars are being wasted. And most importantly, they will be able to enter the Office of Career Counseling with confidence. All together now: A is for artist…