Rider’s art schedule has been cut – The Rider News
By Amethyst Martinez
When I was choosing my courses in my first year in the fall of 2020, I realized something dark. Yes, I’m a journalism student, and my life revolves around that, but there’s something I never even considered not being able to do in college that made me who I am. today.
Creation of visual art.
I looked around the course listings, scrolling aimlessly, hoping to find just some kind of traditional mids feeling or whatever where I could get my hands dirty, then realized: Rider n There was absolutely no art course that ticked that box offered in the semester.
“How could a university not have that?” I questioned myself by continuing to choose my courses. This got me thinking: why does Rider have so few traditional medium art classes?
As a university that has majors like game and interactive media design and graphic design, I was confused as to why our fine arts department was so lackluster. Everyone could benefit from these courses who are seeking a liberal arts degree, and even those who are not.
Every day, I enter the Beaux-Arts building to go to my classes, but what could you call it that? Once upon a time, Rider had a major in fine art, and even a gallery that was popular among the artist community and noticed by major publications like the New York Times.
In a letter to the editor sent to The Rider News in 2021, Deborah Rosenthal, who once taught art classes such as painting, drawing, printmaking and more at Rider, spoke about this change that has occurred. “In 2015-2016, ‘academic prioritization’ was set in motion by the university administration,” Rosenthal said. “This bland phrase puts a neutral face to the process that has in effect trashed essential disciplines – firing tenured professors, cutting course offerings, eliminating majors and minors in core arts and humanities disciplines – and directs the university towards a future as a professional school.”
It seemed eerily familiar to the recent prioritization that took place this summer with a slew of majors and minors removed.
I think one thing all liberal arts students should consider is, are we getting a well-rounded arts education with so few traditional arts classes offered?
In a recent interview with The Rider News, Rosenthal spoke about the now greatly reduced artistic schedule.
“It was a small program, but very intense,” Rosenthal said. “It was just people who wanted to do a lot of work in painting and drawing. … I had, over the years, a group of students who went on to graduate school in painting, and I had artists who came to talk to the students, [and] we used to go to New York regularly.
Harry Naar, a former teacher of these traditional medium art classes at Rider, also lamented the loss of such a complex curriculum.
“If you’re considering a liberal arts school, I think visual arts should be a very important part of liberal arts education,” Naar said. “I think of the type of education we received that made them want to pursue the visual arts, and also showed other people in other jurisdictions and programs the high quality and caliber of students.”
The spring semester 2023 course listing offers hands-on art classes, such as the fundamentals of drawing, which makes me wonder what the future might look like for this type of art at Rider and gives me a glimmer of hope. I will also say that Rider has amazing arts programs, such as musical theatre, graphic design, game design, film and television and many more; however, I think this issue paints a bigger picture of how academic prioritization that involves major and minor cuts can affect our education here at Rider.