Coverage of the changes underway at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts drew a wide variety of comments from readers who posted on The New Bedford Light’s page and others:

From The New Bedford Light’s Facebook page

Fascinating article, and as one of those around when the concept of the then-abandoned Star Store was floated as a satellite campus for UMD, I am hopeful that the University will find a way for it to remain a vibrant and growing presence in the downtown.

Greg Jones

From the Facebook Public Group Page for Swain School of Design

Thank You New Bedford Light and Jack Spillane for this story. Swain School had a lot do in shaping UMASS Dartmouth’s Art Department. It would be a loss to New Bedford for them to reinvent themselves and sidelining the Fine Arts Program.

Charles Hauck

I think it’s a mistake to get rid of the traditional arts, but I can see that the modern game and graphic design programs would be more popular, and those kids would probably get jobs. However, there are a lot of people who make impacts and/or livings off these traditional art skills. These courses should stay as part of the visual arts curriculum. 

Catherine McGuinness

You are right, Mr. Hauck. The arts are a key part if New Bedford’s identity. Also, I have a degree is English with a good career based on that degree in instructional design, technical writing.

Both require a grounding in visual design. Some of my course credits were Swain credits. Another point — fine arts, traditional tactile arts are a cite to our humanity, something that too much focus on technology will strip from us. We need to keep traditional fine arts.

Denise Bradford

Art is a very large part of the positive New Bedford … I think the city should investigate ways to bring back the Swain School. It could be a gem for the city.

Claudia Langlois Silva

So sad to hear. Even though I am in the digital design field — I value the creativity and foundation that these programs offer a student. They feed our souls. Fingers crossed they can be incorporated another way. — Brendalee

Jason Bell

From the Facebook Page of Timothy Dale Walker, professor of history at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

I wonder if students are concerned about a fine arts degree given the cost of a university degree vs. project income. When faced with over $40,000 of potential loans, could artistic people be looking at ways to earn more?

Polly Pimentel Zajac

I didn’t really like this coverage, neither the news story here nor Jack’s opinion piece. It all hinted that somehow the university was being irresponsible and unsupportive of the fine arts. The reality is that total enrollment is down and demand for these programs is also down. Resources aren’t unlimited. That may be disappointing, but it’s not some nefarious plot. 

And the idea that the university had some kind of moral obligation to keep studio courses at the Star Store is also problematic. Yes, that has transformed the city, but UMassD has one responsibility and that’s to do what’s best for its students, and if that means moving studios onto campus, they ought to do it.

Doug Roscoe

Doug Roscoe I agree with Doug here. If student demand for classic art is declining — but interest in design, graphics, and gaming animation is growing — then resources should be reallocated accordingly. Folks are voting with their feet; UMassD should meet the demand.

Ken Manning

There is no institution in the region more committed to the arts than UMass Dartmouth.

By the way, if one of the main goals of the Star Store was and is to attract people to downtown New Bedford, wouldn’t the space best be used for those programs that attract students?

John Hoey

John Hoey and it would be to New Bedford’s economic benefit to have more people in downtown stopping for coffee, food after/before class, etc. Some of the classes being taught there only have one or two students.

Anthony Arrigo

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