As the semester ended, the halls of the UTSA Arts building began to fill with vibrant and quirky flyers promoting everything from exhibits and exhibits to senior recitals, ensemble concerts and more. After a semester filled with rehearsals and late-night studio sessions, the students gather their work and perform alongside their classmates to hopefully showcase their soulful compositions and stunning art portfolios to their peers and audiences. their family. But rumor has it that it was a bit difficult.
Music Education student Jessica Lara says that while she’s been shy about the rumors, the lack of an audience speaks volumes.
“We put on amazing concerts, but we can barely fill a quarter of the recital hall,” Lara said. “I’ve never seen a promotion that wasn’t done by the music department on our events.”
With social media being at the forefront of spreading information about campus events, flyers and word-of-mouth follow close behind. When looking at accounts like @utsa and @utsastudents – which happen to be the two most followed student accounts for UTSA on Instagram – I found an impressive amount of promotions for clubs, sporting events, exciting things happening all around campus and even recognition of adventures of SOSA. The only thing missing from the equation of student life, well-being, engagement and involvement was any highlight of the arts or music department beyond their association with sports and pride.
“[This] it bothers me because we put so much work into it,” Lara said.
Another contributing factor was raised by composition student Alex Valles, who pointed out how interactions between majors can be ostracized and how difficult it can be to reach across barriers when it comes to student events.
“If people knew what was going on in the recital hall, I think other major students, other students [with] different goals and different majors would come to these events instead of [it] just being the same people who are still in this building anyway,” Valles said.
She states that with all the flyers posted in odd places and by word of mouth, some students from other majors stumble upon concerts and recitals, but even with these factors it’s not easy to know. what is happening.
“I have friends who just don’t know what’s going on in the department,” Valles said. “I’m someone who talks to a lot of people, so I usually know what’s going on, but if you don’t talk to everyone it’s pretty hard to figure out what’s going on. You have to…really know the right people.
But even with her social skills, she recognizes that there are still blind spots.
“I never know what’s going on in the Art department,” Valles said. “And it’s literally like across the street from the music side. Like, sometimes I’m like, ‘Oh, is there something going on in the showroom?’ because I see people there. But it’s so rare when I discover it.
But where does the line of need for support end and personal responsibility begin?
“I think you know, [the students] need to rely not only on UTSA in [their groups] …but I think they need to be more engaged with the community there,” said Visual Arts Lecturer Juan Mora.
Mora actively advocates for students to go to the galleries and discuss it. He even takes time out of his classroom to support graduate student artists and provides extra credit for those who attend school events.
“A lot of students who want to do more, they will seek that help…the opportunities are there,” Mora said.
Mora did not fully nurture the idea that students were victims of a system and instead insinuated that students have a lot of incentives to support themselves, but many do or cannot because of problems. more personal and environmental.
“With COVID [and the shut down of in-person activities] it was really difficult because you know, everything changed, you know… but it’s really difficult to ask a student who doesn’t have a car, or who is really struggling, you know, mentally, emotionally because of all the stressful work,” Mora said.
“I was also a student,” Mora continued. “And it was really hard, sometimes not having a car or not having the time. Some of them these days, a lot of students are working for, you know, the obvious reasons.
Valles backed Moras’ statement, acknowledging that it’s not easy to show up here when there are other outside factors at play.
“We’re so busy that sometimes it’s hard to find the time to attend these events,” Valles said. “And unfortunately, it’s not like the department is really big, so it’s not like we can walk through and fill the recital hall every time.”
By examining the problem, the students hope that there might be a change, whether it comes from the students or from outside forces.
“I think it would be great if we collaborated more with different departments instead of just UTSA, like music students, because we’re a really good community,” Valles said. “And it’s very nice to know that we support each other.”
Valles pushed further the idea that purging people’s ignorance of these events is the answer to involving people.
“Everyone loves music,” Valles said. “You don’t have to be a music student to enjoy it. And I think if people from other departments knew more about our events that are going on and our concerts, I wouldn’t worry that people would definitely come because, I mean, it’s right there. They live on campus. And it’s like, why not go see a show, like on a Friday night?
With more end-of-year performances and exhibitions to come, will students and faculty be able to soar? What could UTSA say about its lack of coverage of the art department and the music department?
Next week, an opportunity to explore what the answer to both of these questions might be and hopefully get to the bottom of all those empty seats.