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The Fifth Annual Arts Crawl and the Loss of Art at Penn State

This past Friday, after classes had ended, students once again retreated to the recesses of their dorms/apartments/houses, only emerging when it was time for a night of downtown debauchery. However, a small population of students forgoed an evening of couch surfin’ on some J. Shore, and spent some time at the Fifth Annual Penn State Arts Crawl.

Hosted by Students Organizing the Multiple Arts (SOMA) and Visual Arts Student Alliance (VASA), the night kicked off at 5:30 in the Visual Arts Building, and didn’t stop til’ midnight. The Arts Crawl featured student created works of visual arts, sculpture, new media, dance, painting, architecture, fashion, performance art, photography, and live music. All for no charge.

Covering the entirety of the event, I had a wonderful time. However, as I looked at the number of people present, I couldn’t help but feel extremely disappointed in Penn State. While it was not barren, knowing just how many people that weren’t there (the number of public attendants nearly rivaling the number of students present), I have come to a conclusion: Art is lost here at Penn State.

It seems that college, for the student, has turned into a two-step process: school work during the week, and rage during the weekend. This lifestyle is a sin when present in a community like the Valley’s. Name something you like to do, and it’s here somewhere, and you become as involved as much as you want to be. And yet, instead of students culturing themselves, they prefer to go and get drunk. I am not saying that this isn’t ever acceptable, but when it takes precedence over event’s like Friday’s, there is a serious problem.

After the release of the acts for this year’s Movin’ On, a lot of people expressed disappointment, wondering why their preferred performers were not selected. I think that some of the problem lies in the fact that we haven’t really cultivated the arts here at Penn State. Sure, a ton of students camped out for a few days in Weezyville, but I don’t think this counts. I know, it was on a Friday, and you just wanted to party. But it started at 5:30, and continued for over 6 hours. Now I’m no math guru, but I think within that time frame, one could have gone to the arts fest for a bit, and made it back to their abode in time to still go out. Hell, maybe for even one night, forget about alcohol, and spend some quality time with friends while showin’ some love for some Penn State-bred musical outfits and artists. Once we show that we care about things like Arts Crawl, the largest student-run arts festival here at Penn State, then those who are in charge of events like Movin’ On will be sure to acquire the artist’s of our desire for Movin’ On and more.

I can’t stress how much I enjoyed the Arts Crawl. There were 21 stellar bands, ranging through a wide variety of genres, and the artist’s exhibits were simply phenomenal. I wish I could keep going with my argument, and make it a lot clearer and stronger, but at the moment I am feeling rather ill. Instead I will leave you with a quote, and a wish that you will help to build culture in the town we all have come to call home.

“Art is the window to man’s soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within.” -Claudia Johnson

About the Author

Ryan Kristobak

Hailing from Lebanon, PA, I am a senior majoring in print journalism. Things I enjoy include lovesacs, denim, mullets, Fight Milk, Jonny Moseley, and "hang in there" kitten posters. Things that bother me include "fun" sized candy bars (not fun), fish, shoobies, wet door knobs, baby leashes, and Jake Lloyd.


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