As a faculty member in the Performing Arts Division at Cuesta College, it is my understanding that the Division was offered the opportunity to write a rebuttal to New Times’ Dec. 8 cover story, “Curtains?” I wish to be clear that I am writing as an individual. This is not a rebuttal from the division or the college.
New Times made an unfortunate choice in its tone and perspective in “Curtains?” It’s discouraging to witness the editors and staff at New Times endorse destructive misrepresentation of Cuesta’s Fine and Performing Arts Programs; both programs function as gems of our community, and of art education as well.
While I can’t openly assess the meanings and intentions of the comments from some of my colleagues in the article, the intent of the article’s co-authors seems all too clear. Had your authors simply taken the time to do a little more research, acquiring information and perspectives from beyond the select few they represented, there could have been an opportunity to offer a piece of journalism that went beyond presenting what appears to be predetermined perspective and intent. With a little more effort, they would have discovered programs that are unique, thriving, exciting, and altogether positive. The co-authors’ choice to focus on narrow and negative perspectives within this piece heightens my doubts of New Times’ legitimacy and judgment in responsibly handling and reporting on challenging issues.
As someone who has experienced a number of Performing Arts programs, I can attest to the fact that we have something very special at Cuesta. Our Performing Arts department is doing things that no other Community College (or many UC/CSU) program is doing in the state. Our students are some of the most proficient and focused in the state. Our teachers are some of the most accomplished and qualified, anywhere. Students are coming from all over to be part of Cuesta, and they are thrilled. Our success in multiple key areas demonstrates just that. Our attitude and ability to adapt to new and unforeseen challenges is quite noteworthy, and we have been doing it in strides. Cuesta’s administration, faculty, and students collectively have a deep passion for the arts, and for what we do to enrich our lives as artists.
Budget cuts looming, we have successfully insulated ourselves from many challenges past, present, future, through our dedication to each other, our craft, and our community