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Art is Alive! HBCU Digest April 2014 Schools Find Value in Preserving History, Culture through the Arts Photo courtey of Johnson C. Smith University By Lois Elfman T he history of mankind has shown us that the arts play a great role in our lives and developing our societies and cultures,” says Dr. Gail Medford, coordinator of the Theatre Arts program in the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Bowie State University. “When you look at the history of man, it’s not told through science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she continues. “It’s told through the arts—visual arts, dance and through the oral interpretations of life, ergo theatre performances. The arts are very, very important in education for helping these young people understand where they came from and who they are.” Students today feel external and internal pressures to achieve returns on their investments in higher education. Unquestionably, majoring in theatre, art, dance or music does not provide readily apparent paths to financial security, but the passion that drives students to these majors is undeniable. Individuals from the institutions interviewed for this article make it clear that nowhere is arts education more important than at Historically Black Colleges and Universities; it is through the arts that 8

April 2014

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