Monday, April 22, 2019

Art at Duke

Duke University is known for two things: our men's basketball team, and our status as a top-10 university. The students are known to work hard but also party hard, and most undergraduates are on a pre-professional track. Its reputation for the arts is not one that many people talk about when applying for college. But a visit to and lo and behold, "ARTS" is prominently displayed at the top of the page.

Arts is one of the six sections Duke lists at the top of their website.
It appears to be something that Duke as a university tries to emphasize in their public image, but for many students, it's possible to spend their entire school life without any interaction with the arts, aside from brunch at Nasher Cafe. The top 5 undergraduate majors are Computer Science, Economics, Public Policy, Biology, and Psychology, all some form of science. In this regard, it doesn't look like many students choose to study the arts. However, that doesn't mean that art does not exist at Duke at all.

In my experience, the arts at Duke are pursued as hobbies or side passions alongside academics, often a continuation of what students did before they entered college (though not all keep up with it). Some join dance groups, orchestras, or visit the Arts Annex to draw and paint. For artists in the traditional sense (i.e. drawing, painting, or sculpture), I get the sense that they are exist in isolation rather than in groups - there isn't a "community" in a sense that all the artists at Duke know all of each other.

However, the resources to pursue art are everywhere - one just needs to look for it. Duke provides plenty of resources to pursue art in many medium, the artist just needs to take initiative.

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