Opinion: It’s not just about pianos

Last spring, Carol brought “Heart and Soul” to this campus — literally.

Pianos filled the campus for the Arts Everywhere initiative as students of all majors suddenly remembered the Level 1 songs from the keyboard lessons their moms made them take in first grade.

We’re glad to see that Chancellor Folt and Special Assistant to the Chancellor for the Arts Emil Kang seem to really care about increasing the arts’ exposure and accessibility at UNC. In a world of analytical chemistry exams and constant CNN notifications, we all need a form of stress relief, and the arts are a great one. Kang’s aspirations to create interdisciplinary courses with arts and non-arts subjects allow everyone to take part in some sort of artistic endeavor.

But at the same time, we need to acknowledge that there’s a difference between drawing as a hobby and pursuing art, music or theatre as a career. The University should be supporting STEM majors who want to take a fifteen-minute music break, but they should be supporting the students who dedicate 15 hours a week to their artistic craft just as much, if not more.

In the April 21 edition of the DTH, professors in arts departments questioned why the money was going towards initiatives like makerspaces and pianos when the actual departments were still short on money. We fully agree with these professors. The school would never prioritize Woolen Gym’s pick-up basketball games over the Roy and his boys. The same principle should be applied to our artists.

We understand putting out pianos is about more than just hearing slightly off-tempo covers of Christmas songs in between classes. The instruments expressed that while may be known for business and basketball, the arts are an important part of this campus. But the true way to make the arts thrive on this campus is through passionate students.

Go to one Kamikazi or Carolina Bluegrass Band performance and you’ll see campus is full of talented and underappreciated artists. Giving students like them the recognition and resources they need goes beyond pianos.

Investing in these programs pays off in the long run — the more well-funded and supported our arts departments are, the more talented our incoming classes of art, drama and music majors will be. It’s just like with basketball — the better the recruits, the more exciting the campus culture surrounding it will be.

Thanks for reading.

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