A painter, a poet and a composer went hiking up a mountain. This sounds like the beginning of a corny joke, but it is actually the beginning of an astounding art creation. The rising sun’s golden rays made a constellation of light between the autumn trees. The branches of the trees sighed together in the breath of fall as the rustling of the leaves caused the light to twinkle onto our faces. The other two hikers and I looked up, and we were inspired. We felt compelled to create something out of the natural beauty we saw before us. Oftentimes, I feel that students at this University don’t branch out to other artistic departments when creating art. However, the art that is made when multiple artistic disciplines are involved can be extremely influential. 

We created a piece of art that incorporated music from the composer, poetry from the poet and paintings from the painter. Each component was vital in expressing the message we wanted to give audiences: environmental preservation. This message would not have been properly relayed in the way we envisioned if it had not been for each person’s willingness to collaborate with artists from multiple disciplines. 

I’ve found that some of my best art has come from working with students outside of those in my major. Being at the University, I am constantly surrounded by opportunities to collaborate with phenomenal artists that are not within my chosen field. Not taking advantage of the opportunity to meet and work with artists through multiple disciplines while in a setting that thrives off of cross-campus student collaboration would be a shame to myself as a growing artist. Being exposed to different types of art is one thing; daring to branch beyond your comfort zone and create artworks you would’ve never dreamed possible is a completely separate realm of artistry. 

I encourage every student artist to reach out to the students that are not in their major. With so many organizations — Basement Arts, Living Arts, PEERS — the opportunity for cross-campus collaboration is at the tip of our fingers. All we need to do is reach. Multidisciplinary art is everywhere, in the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the advertisements we see on TV. When we go into the career field of our choosing, it is almost a requirement to collaborate with artists that use different mediums than our own. Gaining this experience in college is vital to our futures as artists, and I believe it is something students do not take enough advantage of.

Evidence of fantastic multidisciplinary art sponsored by the University is everywhere. In fact, this past weekend, the Department of Dance put on a “Dance and Related Arts Concert.” The event showcased projects developed in semester-long collaborations between students from multiple departments in SMTD. This was a great opportunity for students to dip theirs toes into the world of cross campus artist collaboration. 

If it was not for me attending events like these, I would have never met some of my closest friends. I would have never traveled to Northern Mich. over Fall Break to go hiking with a hodgepodge crew of artists. I would have never developed art that I feel the world needs to see. You don’t need to grab a poet, a painter, an actor and a composer and take them 2,000 feet above sea level in the beginning of Oct. to create influential art. But you should recognize that we are at a University stocked to the brim with brilliant minds, and you are one of them. Art is a salvation to so many in this world. Start creating now. 

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