The moniker Penn State University carries no shortage of notoriety. Whether it be the football program, the alumni network, the academic reputation or the sheer size, each potential student is drawn to Penn State by a unique factor of the university. According to George Trudeau, director of the Center for Performing Arts, his goal is for the arts community to live in the top three reasons that students choose Penn State.
On Tuesday night at the Palmer Museum of Art, this commitment to constantly evolving the arts community at Penn State was celebrated with the Performing Arts Council’s (PAC) first “Celebrating Student Leaders in the Arts” event. The event recognized the dedication of student leaders in performing arts clubs and organizations, from PSUkulele to Thespians to a cappella groups to comedy clubs.
The Performing Arts Council, namely President Marissa Works and Vice President of Community Relations Connor Pardoe, exemplify this dedication themselves. In their presentation to the event’s attendees, the two outlined new directions for the Council, including a newly-developed app to aid arts organizations in promoting their individual events.
Promote is, fittingly, the first of three words that Works and Pardoe list as PAC’s present goals: promote, unite and collaborate. Along with helping individual groups promote and organize their events, PAC aims to foster collaboration between different organizations, therefore uniting and strengthening the arts community at Penn State.
Trudeau, when discussing the importance of the arts at Penn State and in the lives of individual students, tells an anecdote about one student’s gratitude for the presence of classical music concerts on campus. She told Trudeau that her late grandfather took her to classical music concerts during her childhood, and attending the concerts on campus gifted her with a reminder of him.
“As if I needed something to get me up in the morning and get me down here to work,” Trudeau says. “That’s it.”
It was important to Works to have an “art conversation in an art space,” and the backdrop of the Palmer Museum was nothing short of a perfect setting, especially with the addition of hors d’oeuvres and a live jazz band. The museum got its fair share of spotlight as well. The goals and trajectory discussed for the arts community as a whole are reflected in the museum’s direction, as director Erin Coe highlights with plans for Thursday night parties at the Palmer and a student ambassador program.
The collaboration between the museum and the Performing Arts Council was necessary to plan this event, and it exemplifies the very promotion, unification and collaboration that PAC is striving to achieve. In this single night dedicated to celebrating art at Penn State, the current commitment to and future potential of the arts community were visible, all under the dedicated student leaders in the arts.