Consuming art in college

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Alison Cummins
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Many college campuses were closed this spring due to COVID-19, but hopefully we’ll be back on campus in some form or fashion this in the Fall. Whether you go to the most liberal arts college or a heavy STEM school, it’s likely your school is overflowing with different forms of art and creativity—and a lot of it for cheap if not free. Your school likely has some, if not all, of these: a theatre club, a literary magazine, art exhibits, improv groups, acapella groups, open mic nights, a newspaper, a radio station, and dance teams, just to name a few. And not even just those, but your school probably has discounts available to you in the town or city your college is in. This might be the only time in your life that you’ll have all these groups, events, and discounts at your disposal, so take advantage of them! 

Still not convinced? Here are some price points that may help put things into perspective. At many colleges, tickets to theatre productions are free or just half the price of a ticket in a community or professional theater. Likewise, to see an improv or sketch show as a campus production will be less expensive than off-campus, plus it’s made by the members of your own community. Your college campus is a great place to celebrate and support the creativity of your peers and friends!

Obviously, not all art is about standing on a stage. Many colleges have art or literary magazines that work all year to create magazines full of student work. These are often free, or at most, around $5. Buying magazines full of original work isn’t as available outside of college campuses. And if you’re able to find some, they’ll likely cost as much as any magazine subscription which is upwards of $20. At college, all you have to do is ask someone in the club or show up to an event, and they’ll be happy to share their newest collection of work. 

Additionally, many colleges partner with outside artistic organizations that offer college students discounted prices. This is true of various artistic organizations, like museums, theatres, dance companies, and more. These are great opportunities right in your own community, they are showing you that they want you to partake in their art. Your school may have a list of places they partner with online, or you can do a little digging yourself and see what the student pricing is on the companies’ websites.

Maybe you know all this already, and you’re wondering how to get involved. Connect with the president of the club you’re interested in and ask when they meet. Whether you’re a first semester freshman or a second semester senior, clubs are always excited to meet new artists. Don’t be afraid to try new things! 

When college campuses are open, there’s obviously a lot of cool art to take in for fairly cheap. But why seek out these forms of art in the first place? College is a place of growing, developing, changing, and learning, all of which you and the people around you are doing every day. There are countless people in colleges around the world who are working to create something they are proud of, and oftentimes, that’s something they’re willing to share with you for cheap! So, maybe the next time you and some friends are feeling bored on the weekend, before you turn on Netflix and support the big companies, take a second to seek out some local art on your campus and in your community—before you can’t anymore!