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Columbia Spectator: Why Do the Arts Matter?

The Columbia Spectator published the op-ed "Columbia's Arts Initiative: We heart Art" by Melissa Smey, associate dean and executive director at Columbia University School of the Arts, where she leads the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre.  Reflecting on the importance of the arts, Smey writes:

"As the fall semester winds down and 2018 comes to a close, I’m finding myself in a space of reflection and planning for 2019 resolutions. At moments like these, when I make the time to zoom out and think about my life, I am reminded of how integral the arts have been to my growth as a person. When I picked up the flute in fifth grade, I had no idea it was the beginning of a lifelong passion for music that would influence so many of my relationships and experiences for decades.

I take tremendous pride in being a part of Columbia’s incredibly vibrant arts community as a campus arts administrator. I have worked here for nearly 18 years because I love coming to work every day to a place where the arts really matter.

But why do the arts matter?

Creating or witnessing an artistic work, whether it’s music, film, writing, theater, or visual art, can change your life in meaningful and unexpected ways. Through a shared artistic experience, you can connect more deeply with friends and strangers. You can step away from notifications and refreshing social media feeds for just a moment to connect with an offline experience. You become inspired to take more risks. You are reminded to embrace life’s ambiguities."

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