Asst. News Editor
While athletes are being given the opportunity to partake in playing sports, artists are left waiting on the sidelines. As football season started to commence, thoughts about the drastic changes that have been implemented into athlete’s lives to ensure their safety has me questioning why the livelihoods of the arts are being neglected. When competing in sports, whether it be amaetuer or professional, players make direct physical contact and breathe all over each other for the duration of their games. This is interesting to think about because there is a much higher risk of infection and exposure to the virus through this than there would be through any arts programs. Nearly all theatre, orchestra and band rehearsals and performances have been cancelled and are all being taught virtually. Can you imagine trying to play an instrument or sing in a choir over the computer? Although the RIC Choir was virtually nominated for a Grammy, I and many others believe that the arts deserve just as much leeway as athletics do when it comes to taking part during a pandemic. Artists should be given the opportunity to do what they love.
It is no surprise that the arts have always been extremely underfunded; our society's norm is that athletes always get recognition as professionals, but artists and musicians rarely ever do. To scrutinize athletes and all of the passion and hard work that they put into their craft is the furthest thing from my intention. However, imagine not being given the same treatment as other professionals to do what you love during this pandemic? It must be extremely difficult to be ostracized from your own field, team or career that you worked for so long to get into. Aside from the professional world, arts programs have never been given the recognition that they deserve.
In high school, I was first chair in orchestra. I would put my heart and soul into practicing, as did the rest of the group and our conductor. Our practice rooms were dingy and our equipment was disgusting, not to mention nearly all arts programs were cut. As for the athletics teams, they got new uniforms almost regularly, received a brand new turf field and additionally had a beautiful and newly designed locker room. Even on the RIC Campus, it can be seen that athletes are able to actively compete while all of those that are a part of the arts programs are not given the opportunity to do what they love. Artists should be able to do what they love despite the circumstances, just the same as athletes can.
Some may make the argument that athletic programs bring in far more revenue than arts programs, and while that may be true, you need to think about where that statistic stems from. If a group is given more means to succeed, doesn’t that make them more likely to do well and bring in both revenue and attention? It is no surprise that you need to put into something exactly what you want to get out of it. At South High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, their school is given grants every year towards funding for amenities and extra curricular activities at their school. In 2017, $17,441 was given toward athletic programs while fine arts programs were given just $9,349. This further proves that from the early stages in one's interests, arts programs are not given the same treatment as athletic programs.
Artists and arts programs need to be given the same recognition and treatment as athletes while our world is in disarray. There is a double standard surrounding the two topics and it is unfair that certain individuals are given more chances, leeway and amenities than others just because of the popularity of the activity they take part in.