The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, September 20, 1985, Image 21

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MSC committees bring art to A&M
Staff Writer
Art, said philosopher John Dewey,
is an experience, and a measure of
the quality of a civilization. To some,
this puts Texas A&M near Snook on
the civilization scale. In fact, arts —
performing, visual and literary —
are thriving on a small scale at the
While committees like OP AS and
Town Hall bring symphonies, ballets
and concerts, other lesser known
committees in the MSC, including
the Visual Arts Committee and the
Literary Arts Committee work to
make art accessible to students and
faculty on an daily basis.
Joe Arredondo, coordinator of Uni
versity Art Exhibits, says art isn't
something to be cordonned off for
one week a year or restricted to an
occasional trip to a museum.
"Art's Week, what's that?," he
says. "Does that mean everyone is
supposed to go out and hang pic
tures? No, art is part of our daily life.
It is part of life."
Arredondo coordinates exhibits in
five galleries across campus. These
include the Helen Perry exhibit now
in the MSC gallery, the Benz floral
collection in the horticulture build
ing, an art faculty exhibit in Rudder
Exhibit hall, as well as displays in
the medical school and Langford Ar
chitecture Center.
"Art has gotten very trendy," he
says. "When I got into this years ago
you couldn't get anyone into a mu
seum. Now, if you go on a Saturday,
they're always full. It's like plants a
few years ago, when everyone
really got into them."
He says he is pleased with the
heightened awareness of art here at
"I think it is very encouraging that
the Dean of Medicine is interested in
art, that the Dean of Agriculture
thinks art is important," he says. "I
think it is very encouraging that
there is an interest in aestheticism in
subjects not normally associated
with art."
Arredondo says he wants to give
faculty and students at A&M a view
of art that is more integrated with
their everyday lives.
"Art is about experience," he
says. "It's more than painting. It is
the performing arts, sculpture and
writing, and triggering the aesthetic
Pat Zinn, special event coordina
tor for the Visual Arts Committee,
says before they can trigger any
one's aesthetic sensibilities they
must attract them to the galleries in
the first place.
"No one is going to make them
come in and see pictures they don't
want to see," he says. "Instead of
making people come to us, like we
have in the past, we want to go out
to them.
Visual Arts, which is in charge of
procuring and promoting shows for
able to beg from a private collection.
The collection, which visited the
Kimball Museum of Art in Dallas last
year, will be accompanied by films,
lectures and videos from the Japa
nese consulate.
The next exhibit, from Nov. 14-20,
will be a video installation, de
signed to involve the viewer. The
walls of the gallery will be covered
up, and a camera focused on a pres
sure plate will operate when the
viewer steps on the plate. By looking
at a monitor, the viewer will interact
with the camera, creating video art.
"I don't expect everyone will like
it," Zinn says, "but I want to offer the
opportunity for people to see and to
learn that art can be in many differ
ent forms."
The third exhibit from Nov. 21 until
the end of the term, will be pieces of
art created by local women who
conduct tours of Rudder Exhibit Hall
'Art has gotten very trendy. When I got into
this years ago you couldn't get anyone into a
museum. Now, if you go on a Saturday,
they're always full. It's like plants a few years
ago, when everyone really got into them."-
Joe Arredondo, University Art Exhibits coordinator.
the MSC Gallery, sifts through sug
gestions and picks out shows, book
ing the biggest two to three years in
advance. To get exhibits of high
quality and diversity, they beg and
borrow collections whenever they
"There was one guy last year who
billed himself as the Rembrandt of
the '80s but his work wasn't so
great," Zinn says. "Otherwise we go
to the museums and beg. We want
to have something for everyone."
Zinn says some people are put off
by art because they think they won't
understand it.
"But art doesn't have to be deep in
symbolism," he says. "It should
evoke a gut reaction, either 'I love it,'
or 'I hate it.'"
Coming Oct. 9-13, is a sword col
lection which the committee was
collections. Called a docent display,
it will include the best pieces sub
mitted to the committee.
Zinn says he would like to see
large exhibits integrating all the gal
leries on campus and art not re
stricted to the exhibit halls.
"We want to expand across camp
us," Zinn says. "Not necessarily ex
hibit-wise but with other forms of art
like sculptures bn the lawn or chalk
drawings (on sidewalks). We've
done performance pieces here, and
whether people realize it or not,
they're being exposed to art."
Exposure to art is the first step in
educating people about it, says
Carol Ross, vice-president of special
events for the Visual Arts Commit
"Folks here are not ignoramuses,"
she says. "They just haven't been
exposed to art. You have to learn vi
sual literacy, start with a sense of
aesthetics and move from there."
For Arts Week, the committee
plans to increase awareness by dis
playing abstract art, created by new
members of the committee, behind
the Academic Building every day,
says committee chairman Emily
"We want some reaction from the
campus," she says. "Some reaction
— whether positive or negative —it's
still a reaction. Instead of ignoring
what's happening around us, to get
people to open up and let the world
The committee also hopes to dis
play student art on easels in the
MSC lounge and asks interested stu
dents to bring their pieces by. Ross
says she thinks arts at A&M are be
coming more popular because the
demographics of A&M are chang
"More and more folks coming to
A&M are interested in the soft sci
ences," she says. "Before, the stu
dent body was always fairly homog
enous but now it's becoming more
This diversity includes the growth
of the Literary Arts Committee which
had its genesis in a sub-committee of
Visual Arts. Paul Henry, adviser for
the committee, says it provides a
service for young writers that didn't
previously exist.
The committee, which produces
the literary magazine Litmus, spon
sors workshops and seminars,
Henry says, and hopes to bring in
professional writers to work with
committee members.
"They're trying to develop the
committee in two ways," he says.
"First, to broaden the literary experi
ence for the whole university and
second to develop the individual
committee members' interest and ta
Because the committee is still
small, Henry says everyone has a
chance to get involved.
"Here they have the opportunity to
roll up their sleeves up and really
get with it," he says. □
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