Many first-year students entering Georgetown are well versed in the arts. Musicians, visual artists, performers and authors appear in each incoming class. Considering this annually refreshed pool of talent and our tradition of trumpeting “care for the whole person,” the stage is surely set for the university’s arts culture to flourish. But one critical factor has been missing: institutional support.

Despite the large and high-quality performance spaces on campus, institutional barriers hinder arts programs’ visibility. Perhaps because of this red tape, the fine and performing arts haven’t struck a chord here at Georgetown.

One institutional problem is easily fixed. Unlike its peer schools, Georgetown requires arts groups to pay for performance space, which — although true for other student groups on campus — is a particularly difficult roadblock for these clubs to overcome. And although the university provides arts groups with funding comparable with that given to similar clubs at other universities, more funding, commensurate with the proclaimed Jesuit emphasis on educating the entire person, would be appropriate.

With more institutional support, the arts would potentially make inroads in campus culture. And in the meantime, Georgetown’s arts groups must continue to advertise their productions, draw in attendees and provide the quality performances that embed the arts in Georgetown’s collective experience.

If aptitude in the arts is considered meritorious in a Georgetown applicant, one wonders why the same quality is not sufficiently appreciated on campus. Absent institutional and cultural transformations on the Hilltop, performances will remain unattended, paintings unseen and songs unheard.

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