I want to tell you about something that frustrates me: apathy. I’ve learned a lot during my three years at UCSB. My classes have taught me about real issues like Congressional decision making and the beginnings of the Israeli-Palestine conflict. I’ve learned how to write more concisely and how to analyze more critically. But most of my learning hasn’t been in a classroom or taken from a textbook. Most of my learning has come from you, the students.
As a Resident Assistant I’ve learned about diversity, responsibility and compassion. As County editor I’ve learned about my community and the issues we face as students. But as your Artsweek editor, I’ve learned something else about students — how many opportunities we skate past.
Art is my life. It is the common thread that connects all humans. It is feeling and expression. It’s a continual reflection on human interaction, joys and struggles.
Growing up I acted in plays and musicals, sang in choir and cafes and played violin in symphonies and open-mic events. These experiences shaped me and introduced me to people with different backgrounds and stories. Art opened up a new part of me I never knew existed. Art is what motivates me and keeps me feeling alive.
When I got to UCSB I knew I had to make sacrifices to fulfill my academic requirements. My job schedule conflicted with orchestra and theater rehearsals, but I knew I couldn’t give up art, my true passion.
So I sought it out. I went to plays, open-mic nights, concerts, art shows and cultural events. Our campus is filled with opportunities. I’ve seen professional and student actors perform and give speeches. I’ve heard poets spill their hearts out, open and vulnerable for the audience. I’ve seen famous musicians and student performers share their experiences through melodies. And the mind-blowing thing is, I’ve never had to pay more than $30 — and that’s rare for quality entertainment. Many events are free or cost $5. But I promise you, the lessons I’ve learned completely make up for the burden of any fee.
The talent on this campus and in this community is incredible. Whether you like abstract art, tattoo art, DJs or folk music, the Santa Barbara community has a place for you. We are lucky enough to have Associated Students Program Board, Arts & Lectures, Theater & Dance Dept., a great art department, cultural groups and organizations, the MultiCultural Center and local galleries and venues.
So I have a hard time understanding why more people aren’t attending these wonderful events. Blockbuster hits, Netflix, Xbox — those things aren’t going anywhere, but your peers are. Don’t give up what you love — action films and zombie-killing video games can be fun — but please don’t give up on the people around you. They are growing, expressing and leaving. They have a story worth hearing, and so do you.
Artsweek is taking a turn. I want to know about you and your passions. I care about students and local art. Artsweek should be your, the artist and student’s, haven for expression. I want to provide UCSB with something it cares about — students.
Whether you are in an artistic group or are a painter, graphic artist, poet, lyricist, musician or writer, you have a place here. Come check us out and write for us. After all, we’re here for you.
Give art a chance. You never know what you’ll discover about yourself.
Madison Medeiros is the 2011-12 Artsweek Editor