Friday, March 12, 2010

Art fosters change

This quarter I have been in a voice and speech training class through the School of Theater. The class discusses the importance of communicating in a coherent way, namely through the delivery of speech. But what I’ve realized is that making your voice heard doesn’t always mean the literal way, as in the poetry and speech exercises in my class, but also pertains to what artists strive to do with every piece of art they create.

As I was sitting in my English class last week listening to student presentations and one of my peers cited this quote from former National Endowment for the Arts board member Bill Strickland:

“Creativity is the catalyst for change.”

This statement got me thinking about the massive amounts of art we take in every day that cause a stir, or at least make us step back and think about our society or our actions in general.

In high school, I performed in social action plays with a local theater company, and developing the passion and proximity to the subjects we were addressing to the audience really pushed me to develop my voice on stage, literally in my vocal performance and figuratively as an actor trying to portray such deep and difficult topics.

Art that aims to create some sort of social change is abundant on a college campus, putting students, faculty and staff and the surrounding community in a unique position to hear the voices of countless young artists.

This quarter, student artists have performed such crowd-shocking, yet poignant shows such as “The Vagina Monologues,” a series of one-act, one person scenes exploring the ups and downs women face, and more tame yet comical performances by Ohio University’s improvisation troupe, Black Sheep, Inc.

Black Sheep, Inc. performing in the Front Room.

Students that are not involved in a group or in a specific production often take advantage of open mic nights at venues like Donkey Coffee and the Front Room. My friend and roommate Jenna Siska discussed this on her blog.

No matter what your passion, I challenge you to make your voice heard, across the room as in my voice class, or across the world if you have that kind of ambition.


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