This semester, SDSU NewsCenter will focus on the arts with stories of the creative endeavors of our students, faculty, staff and alumni.
Dani Bedau has a vision for the future of the arts at San Diego State University: that every student who attends SDSU has an exceptional experience with the arts on campus. When she starts her new role as the chair of the campus arts visibility initiative in January, she aims to make that vision a reality.
“Whether it’s as an audience member, in the classroom or on stage, I want every student to be influenced and changed by the arts,” said Bedau, a playwright and director who has taught at SDSU for eight years.
The arts visibility initiative, which will officially launch in the spring, aims to increase student, faculty and staff awareness of arts events and opportunities at SDSU; to increase attendance at arts events; to integrate and expand arts events and arts practices into the curriculum and to increase arts making opportunities. It is part of SDSU’s strategic plan, Building on Excellence.
Creating an arts culture
“We are in the process of building a culture of arts on this campus,” said Joyce Gattas, dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts. “Through the strategic planning process it became clear that raising the profile of the artistic endeavors on campus was a priority and we are so grateful to have the support of President Hirshman and the campus partners who are helping to make the initiative possible.”
A committee made up of faculty, staff and students from departments all across campus have been working together since August to plan the launch of the initiative.
“This first phase of the arts visibility initiative is not about creating new art events, but about bringing attention to the 350-plus art events that happen on campus every year,” said Randy Reinholz, director of community engagement and innovative programs at SDSU, who has been leading the committee. “These events highlight the talented performers, painters, musicians and artists we already have on campus.”
SDSU hosts hundreds of events on campus annually, from concerts — jazz, symphony orchestra, choir — to art exhibits of sculpture, painting and ceramics to dance, film, musical theatre and performance art.
Bedau is especially excited to help faculty across all disciplines make connections with one another. “I want to increase curriculum development so faculty outside of the arts include things that are already happening on campus into their curriculum, such as going to galleries and attending plays. It will augment and add value to core content for students in all disciplines,” she said.
In addition to teaching theatre at SDSU, Bedau has been the director of the university’s M.A. program in theatre arts and the head of its youth theatre program. Though her background is primarily in theatre, Bedau said that her work has always been inclusive of the other arts. “I have a great respect for and a strong background in other arts and believe that my unique skill set lines up perfectly with the goals of the initiative.”
Raising arts’ profile
The arts visibility initiative has already begun. From pop-up performances in the library dome and at the weekly farmer’s market to the installation of 18 benches designed and painted by students, SDSU is infusing art and culture into the everyday lives of students.
A website will launch shortly, with more information including a calendar for all of the arts events happening on campus.
Make sure you use and follow the hashtag #ArtsAliveSDSU if you're on Twitter.