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BPAC needs transparency for students

When it comes to seeking art and entertainment on a college campus, Baruch College students often head to all-inclusive cultural events hosted by clubs and organizations in the Multipurpose Room of the Newman Vertical Campus. 

Yet, what many students do not have direct access to is the full-functioning Baruch Performing Arts Center, complete with a recital hall, a black box theater, a rehearsal studio and dressing rooms. 

The only other space where students can practice their art are the piano rooms on the 7th floor of the NVC building, but it closes at 5 p.m. daily. 

Students were once able to enter BPAC freely and use its rehearsal space, but it has been closed off in the past few semesters to the student population, except for audience members attending events or groups that have reserved the rehearsal rooms. In addition to its air of exclusivity, BPAC’s location is ambiguous.

BPAC is independent of Baruch. Venue space is reserved months and sometimes even years in advance, and multiple events may take place at the same time within the center. 

As a result, Baruch music clubs such as a cappella group Blue Notes have difficulty gaining exposure for their showcases, which happen once a semester. 

In addition, the newly chartered Lexington Music club still has a long way to go before it can secure a budget to pay for BPAC’s fluctuating venue prices.

BPAC hosts a variety of professional and academic events from film viewings to operas, which are overseen by a full-time staff. 

While this ensures that BPAC makes its decisions independently from the college, it does pose an issue of transparency to students who are not part of Baruch’s Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, who may desire to become more involved in student-run productions or to become more exposed to arts and culture in general. 

Options for these students can include taking an arts-related elective, in which professors could use class time to bring students to events at BPAC, but not every student at Baruch has the time or money to do so. 

So how can we introduce the arts to a diverse student body who are being encouraged to pursue a career of profit? 

BPAC also does not have a reputation for being a gathering place for social functions. Baruch could incentivize and pay for outside organizations to host networking events or film screenings that can benefit students who have different career interests. 

Through advertising, the rehearsal spaces in BPAC can be seen as a resource for students rather than an untouchable space. Students at Baruch would be more likely to attend further events at BPAC and pursue a variety of interests. 

Awareness of the arts is what will lead to a nurturing of the arts for the future generation.

Editor’s Note: Joy Ling is the former president and current senior advisor of Blue Notes.

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