State of the Arts Initiative
Written by Bwog Staff
For the past year, one of the major behind-the-scenes bureaucratic struggles has been the changing face of the Arts Initiative as it moves from the Office of the President to the School of the Arts. Here’s what Bwog’s been able to find out about what’s in and what’s out at the Arts Initiative:
- Not only will the 30% budget cut that was leaked several months ago remain in place, but the School of the Arts has no intention of returning the CUARTS budget to its former size, even if the university budget starts growing again.
- Though no budgetary changes have taken place for either TIC and Gatsby Fund, concerns for the opportunities they provide have risen. Sources told Bwog that most, if not all programs would suffer from increased responsibilities being placed on the CUARTS staff to serve SoA interests (for example, staffers will have less time devoted to finding deals for the TIC), and CUARTS cosponsorships outside of SoA are likely to decrease.
- The budgetary status of many other Arts Initiative programs remains uncertain. Despite promises that no programing which effects undergraduates would be changed, the School of the Arts has cut the yearly NSOP event at MoMA/The Met in order to preserve the Columbia Arts Experience which provides internship opportunities for less than 15 students pursuing careers in the Arts. Sources have suggested to Bwog that the latter program will take on more of a graduate focus.
- CUArts and the Columbia Alumni Association are currently debating over the Columbia Alumni Arts League, which CAA wants to turn more into a vehicle for donations than a service for alumni. Additionally, since CAAL isn’t a separate entity from CUArts – the six full time CUArts staffers work together on almost all initiatives including CAAL – it is unclear how such a move could ever happen or if it will come at the cost of opportunities offered by CAAL or those of other CUArts initiatives.
- Last fall, to save money, CUIT was assigned to create a new CUArts website (rather than an outside contractor); despite promising a proposal by March, CUIT has yet to submit any plans
As for student efforts, a group of students called “Advocates for the Arts Initiative” have started a Facebook group and a petition for students to express their support for the Arts Initiative. In addition, plans for a student advisory board are awaiting the approval of School of the Arts Dean Carol Becker. Some remain skeptical about student input – at Sunday’s CCSC meeting, CC 2010 president Cliff Massey expressed concern that student involvement would remain unwanted, calling this “the least transparent administrative move I’ve ever seen.” Others, though, have expressed optimism to Bwog, noting that the administration “want[s] to tread very carefully, because blogs and Facebook and social media have compressed reaction, and made the administration more conscious of student opinion than before.”