STAFF EDITORIAL: Extend fine arts minor into a major

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Marquette needs to address the gaping hole in its curriculum: the lack of a fine arts major.

Of the 28 Jesuit universities, Marquette is one of just four that don’t offer a fine arts major. It’s time the university stops lagging behind.

We understand implementing a new major in a recession would be an expensive undertaking, but the university should expand the fine arts minor and move toward eventually creating a fine arts major.

Marquette already has many resources available.

The Haggerty Museum of Art is internationally renown: it owns 105 Marc Chagall paintings, a Salvador Dali painting that’s showing in Sweden and a 100-ft. Keith Haring mural that just returned from a Milan exhibition.

With a 5,000-piece collection on campus, why doesn’t the university have a major to match up to the Haggerty Museum’s prestige?

In the 1970s and 1980s, students had to take an art class as part of the core curriculum, or substitute it with a literature class. Marquette should bring back that art focus.

The College of Communication offers a theatre arts major, but not the arts major, which doesn’t make sense. Both are reputable majors — why have one without the other?

For the fine arts minor, students minor in art history or take four tracks in studio art. The university shares a reciprocal relationship with the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, where Marquette students can take a variety of art classes.

However, it can be difficult for many students to get to MIAD and find the time to do so — the time they spend commuting is time they could have spent learning at Marquette.

Marquette has the facilities to offer some of the same art classes.

While the reciprocal relationship with MIAD is probably cheaper for Marquette, the university should be attracting students to its campus.

Jean Grow, associate professor in the Department of Advertising and Public Relations and director of the fine arts minor, said the university is working toward re-tooling the minor to better fit students, although the options are unclear as of now.

She also said most don’t consider Marquette an arts school, so the demand for a fine arts major isn’t high.

However, the demand could be low because students applying to Marquette may be deterred by the complete lack of a School of Fine Arts, let alone a major.

Marquette students are interested in art classes. Every semester, the Haggerty Museum offers three-week, non-credited drawing classes called Student Fridays. Students who take the classes often want longer sessions, said Lynne Shumow, curator of education and community outreach at the museum.

Marquette could offer credited drawing classes at the Haggerty Museum, which could include students who cannot major in art but would like to continue drawing.

The Haggerty Museum could also begin showcasing student art, generating more interest on campus.

By creating a fine arts major, Marquette could attract more students and complement its extensive museum.

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