Arts deserve their equal chance

According to the results of a California state school's survey on last year's budget cut, published at the California Department of Education website, there was a 48 percent cut in the art, music, and drama departments. Unfortunately, the arts tend to come to mind when cuts must be made. All right "budget cutters," before you even glance towards the arts department, hear me out. This is Santa Monica College.  We are in extremely close proximity to Hollywood, a world renowned home of film, art and entertainment. Our town attracts people from all over the world because of the arts, so it's safe to say the arts have just as much a right to be here as other classes.

Have you checked the fee non-residents have to pay on top of tuition? The cultural diversity present at SMC not only makes our school unique, but it brings money to its pockets. And why do international students come to Los Angeles? For the arts!

SMC's Dance Department Chair, Professor Judith Douglas, said the art programs are what give the United States a unique edge.

"Many international students study in the U.S. to learn to become creative and imaginative thinkers," Douglas said.

"The importance of the arts is vast in the scope of learning," Douglas said. "While the sciences teach to explain the world around us," she said, "the arts function to help us become creative and critical thinkers."

She also said to keep in mind that to transfer, all students have humanities requirements to fulfill.

"If cuts must be made, they should be made equitably, not just selecting certain areas," she said.

You would think Douglas feels that way because she is the chair of an art-related department, however, SMC's biology professor, and currently one of the acting chairs of SMC's science department, Lucy Kluckhohn Jones, said that the arts actually empower science.

"I think when we lose art and music both, we lose more than the disciplines themselves," Kluckhohn said. She said the creativity these disciplines bring is crucial to science.

"It's no accident that there are art pictures on the covers of the Journals of the American Medical Association, JAMA," she said.

"I certainly support keeping both the arts and the music, and hopefully making cuts through attrition more than anything else," she said.

Sure, UCLA is known for its science and medical programs, but they also have great arts programs; so do LMU and USC. There are many students who chose to attend SMC because of the promise of an art-related transfer program to one of these schools.

For example, SMC Theater major Arturo Meneses, 20, said he would have to switch schools if the theater program at SMC is eliminated.

"As it is now, it's really hard to actually get a class that fits your schedule, cause there's less teachers actually teaching it at available times," Meneses said. If our arts programs are eliminated, feel free to be the one to deliver the news to students like Meneses.

Arts can bring money to our school in creative ways, such as putting out performances and displays, and other ideas "thinking outside the box" can bring. Lets make history and choose to empower the arts instead, thus bringing light and color to our dark times.