With only four music practice rooms in the Healey Family Student Center and two in LXR Hall, there are barely enough available spaces on campus to serve all of Georgetown’s 7,595 undergraduate students. On April 19, the Georgetown University Student Association dedicated its final Hoya Roundtable of the spring semester to these issues concerning the arts at Georgetown, specifically relating to individual student artists and smaller groups.
During the roundtable, students and faculty raised concerns regarding the university’s current commitments to promoting artists and groups on campus. Some asked if there were plans for future performance spaces, while others questioned if existing spaces will be re-evaluated and renovated to accommodate increased use.
These questions emerging from the open forum last Tuesday are hardly new or unique, yet they serve as a key reminder of how the university is still not providing the resources necessary for students’ artistic passions to truly thrive, especially individuals and groups unaffiliated with Georgetown’s performance groups such as the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society and Superfood.
The limited number of music practice rooms will be particularly concerning if the number of students living on campus increases in the near future. In addition, the practice rooms in the HFSC are especially cramped, lack soundproofing and are not climate controlled, causing instruments to be damaged if left overnight. An example of this can be seen with pianos in HFSC, which students complain are often out-of-tune and receive little overall maintenance.
Larger and higher-quality practice rooms are available in Reynolds Hall, but they are given priority to those taking performing arts courses or student performance groups recognized by the Performing Arts Advisory Committee. PAAC is a body that delegates practice spaces and funding for groups affiliated with PAAC such as the Saxatones, the World Percussion Ensemble and others.
The quality and quantity of spaces are two areas where the university can commit itself to enhancing the artistic pursuits of not only student groups, but also individual artists. In the upcoming 20-year campus plan, the university should commit to infrastructure and spaces dedicated to the performing arts. Perhaps existing spaces in both LXR, Reiss, New North Building and other underutilized buildings can be refurbished to become more accommodating, with soundproof walls and temperature control. Such changes would mean that practicing would no longer cause disturbances to nearby students, and instruments would be kept in appropriate spaces where they would not become damaged.
Community members will have another opportunity to comment on the future of the performing arts at Georgetown at a forum to be held April 27 in White Gravenor Hall. We urge students to voice their opinions at the forum and continue lobbying for their demands, and we encourage the administration to make concrete commitments to new spaces in an effort to nurture students’ artistic passions, whether they are in recognized groups or not, at all levels.
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