The only desk I’ve ever written for at the IDS is the arts desk.
I am only a freshman, and I’ve only been on staff for two semesters, so maybe that’s not actually so surprising. But when my first semester at the IDS came to a close in December, I actually applied for one or two desks in addition to the arts desk, thinking I should probably expand my horizons a bit and show a little love for my other interests.
But I got placed at the arts desk again, and, I’ll admit, I was a bit bummed at first; I was a little disappointed that I wouldn’t be trying out a new section, and I felt like I wouldn’t continue to grow as a writer. And in all honesty, I sometimes felt self-conscious about being an arts desk member. Not because I didn’t love the things we wrote about.
But because I didn’t think other people did.
Sometimes, it feels like people sweep arts and entertainment under the rug, and in many ways, I can understand why. It often feels like arts and entertainment news is only filled with reality TV stars, arguments between rich celebrities and the occasional Buzzfeed quiz.
I’m so lucky that I got to delve more into this world, because those are far from the only stories out there.
If it weren’t for the arts desk, I never would’ve gotten to learn and write about Glenn Close’s costume collection coming to IU. I wouldn’t have gotten to interview the amazing people who put together the “SEE HER RUN: Monroe County Women in Politics” exhibit. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to share my opinions on music – something I hold near and dear to my heart – and write articles ranging from album reviews to song rankings to sharing my love for the Beatles and Taylor Swift.
And, just in general, I never would’ve gotten to see what a great arts and museum scene Bloomington has. With the Jacobs School of Music, the Eskenazi Museum of Art, Lilly Library and more, there is so much to explore.
I even got to try and track down why Bruce Springsteen was eating at the Uptown Cafe in Bloomington, and, even though I’m fully aware that a story like that may not seem too important in the grand scheme of things, it actually is. Because, for some reason, people care. And it’s okay that we can’t always explain why we care.
Writing about the arts has allowed me to understand people’s passions on a deeper level. The arts – whether it be music, movies, books or another medium – are a portal into someone’s personal life. It puts our deepest devotions on display and let’s us show to the world who we really are and why we love being alive.
It may not have the glamour of being a political reporter or investigative journalist, which I thought I would be one day. I’m only 18, so who knows – but when you get past the tabloid stories – arts reporters and columnists often get to explore humanity at its best, not its worst.
And we will always need those stories.