Ent Center lacks incorporation of student productions

28 August 2018

Israel Wheatley

iwheatle@uccs.edu

Student, faculty and staff alike had high hopes for the new UCCS  multi-purpose arts center, the Ent Center for the Arts. However, its prioritization of professional production leaves many with a bad taste for the massive project.

    Finding a balance between professional and academia is imperative to a university’s success. Yet, in the case of UCCS, sometimes academic achievement seems lesser than financial prowess, leaving our academic strength underappreciated.

    The venue is used regularly by all sectors in the UCCS Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) department, such as Film Studies, Dance, Music and Theatre. The venue, however, is best-known around the UCCS student community as being primarily for professional performances.

    Two of its three main theaters, the Shockley-Zalabak and Dusty Loo Bon Vivant theaters, are strictly professional and do not truly allow student productions.

    The Osborne Theater is, however, specifically for student productions.

    As a university, the main objective should be to encourage academic and professional growth for its students. The Ent Center seems to ignore this by focusing on professional art, such as the upcoming production, “A Raisin in the Sun” in September, produced through Theatreworks, a professional company affiliated with UCCS.

    Of course, a university should always play an active role in both its local and national community; UCCS accomplishes this by hosting professional artists. However, it should be more important to promote our own students than advertise our financial prowess.

    Showcasing student productions whether through theatre, film, dance or music does not just prove student talent. Such productions are a result of student-faculty collaboration and are evidence of the academic capability UCCS embodies as a whole, not of our financial ability. Focusing more on student projects is beneficial to both students and faculty alike, which is to the university’s value.

    On the other hand, the Ent Center has given other departments, such as Film Studies, a home for its projects, an example being the annual UCCS Student Short Film Festival.

    UCCS Film Studies, led by Professor Robert von Dassanowsky, has long prided itself in its national and worldwide recognition, with many of its graduates advancing their careers, or attending renowned graduate programs in film.

    Such pride in UCCS students and their close relationship with the faculty lead to both scholarly and community recognition, all without third-party advertisement. Our students deserve this recognition for their accomplishments without being overshadowed by outside competitors.

     What exactly does UCCS hold pride in most? I would argue that students and faculty are the apple of our school’s eye, but sometimes the administration slips up and places academics second to funds.

    The Ent Center is a slip-up: the concept is attractive, but the execution is disappointing.

    UCCS strongly comprises passion on the part of both students and faculty.

    The university prioritizes funds rather than students’ creative expression by favoring third-party, and not advertising student productions to the community.

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