Welcome to Arts, Etc. – Why Are You Here?

KEVIN VOGEL | Arts, Etc. Editor

When I took over the Arts section in 2012, I posed a question to you, dear reader: Why are you here? Why are you reading this section today?

I gave you my thoughts on what the “et cetera” in this section’s title meant for you and me, our staff and your community, and laid out my goals for “Arts, Etc.”

You can read that first “Editor’s Notebook” (then just called “Commentary”) online at thebutlercollegian.com. The piece is called “Philosophy of Arts, Etc.”

I sincerely hope the answer to “Why are you here?” has changed in these two short years.

I hope we have shown you that a student arts section does not need to be skimmable at best, throwaway at worst.

I have had the pleasure of leading a great number of very talented and passionate writers who covered the most important arts news on and off campus.

They also brought you interesting feature stories, insightful reviews and entertaining columns.

The arts staff won multiple awards for its efforts, including awards in feature writing, page design and photography.

We also extended the area of coverage from only on-campus stories to stories across all of Indianapolis.

Over the past two years we have previewed concerts, lectures, exhibits, dance performances, public readings and much more.

We have reviewed senior theatre projects, mainstage theatre shows, Indianapolis Museum of Art galleries, concerts and other events.

We have profiled student authors, looked at Butler University fashion and took a closer look at the people on campus who we so often forget, like our university carillonneur and groundskeepers.

We have spoken with Maya Angelou, Lee Daniels, New York Times crossword editor Will Shortz, the cast of the Intergalactic Nemesis, the crew of Memphis, Syrian composer Malek Jandali, British director Tim Hardy,  U.S. Marine Band director Col. Michael Colburn, and more leaders in the art and entertainment worlds.

We gave you a first look into the Schrott Center, told you about the lockout at the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and covered other arts news on and off campus.

On a personal note, it was with great pleasure that this section was able to interact with the community in a variety of ways as well.

One of my favorite issues came from such an interaction. We published a crossword created by mathematics chair William Johnston, dedicated to and designed to surprise professor emeritus Jeremiah Farrell.

There are many things I wish I had done better as editor, but I am proud of the momentum the section currently has. I’m confident we are heading in the right direction.

Why devote valuable space to articulating this direction?

Because newspapers serve people, and I serve you.

I want you to know the philosophy I’ve tried to impart on the section and its writers because it will affect what you read and how you read it.

That philosophy begins with the idea that the purpose of any arts section, besides informing the community of arts news, is to increase the depth of artistic dialogue in the community it serves.

This involves a few different goals. The first is to foster interest in art-related events, in order to create a base of experiences the community can draw from.

The second is to present cogent, insightful critiques of some of those events from the viewpoints of people versed in art. Students have to be careful when doing this, but it can be done and we have started to do so.

A third step is to encourage community participation with the arts in a variety of ways. That’s the challenge posed to the next editor of this section.

Every once in a while, it is worth it to take some space and remind you why we do what we do and why it is important to read. It is equally important for journalists to present their philosophies and open themselves to input from the people they serve.

It is with this hope that I invite you to contact me at kjvogel@butler.edu with your thoughts about Arts, Etc.

If there is some way that we can better serve you, or if there is something you want us to continue doing next year, please let me know.

I will pass on your thoughts and ideas to the next editor.

Thank you for your support these two years.

The next arts editor will be chosen next month, but I know this section will be in good hands, on a firm heading and on strong winds.

It can only go up from here, so keep reading. Get your friends and colleagues reading. I will be.