Megan McGill, Arts and Entertainment Editor

(Contributed by Miami University)

Sounds of the marching band practicing filter through dorm room windows, giant posters are parked outside the Campus Avenue Building and students hear about concerts and exhibits; but how much does the average student really know about the arts at Miami University? According to Rosalyn Benson, assistant dean of the School of Fine Arts, every year is a year of the arts for members of the School of Fine Arts (SFA). But 2011-2012, officially proclaimed “Year of the Arts” by President David Hodge, will make sure everyone knows it.

According to Jeanne Harmeyer, marketing manager for Music and Theatre, James Lentini, dean of the School of Fine Arts, pitched the idea to President Hodge over the summer, and “Year of the Arts” was only made official about a month before classes started. “We quickly designed a logo and started advertising,” Harmeyer said.

Students arriving on campus for the start of school were greeted by yard signs bearing the colorful new logo posters containing verbs pertaining to the arts. “It is very important that those words on the poster are verbs,” Benson said. “Year of the Arts is about celebrating the way artists do things and how they change lives. It’s about so much more than just performing and entertaining.”

Lentini echoed Benson’s sentiment.

“We want to provide that creative spark to all students,” he said. “Creative thinking sparks industry and influences science. The arts educate students, influence people and have a big impact on everyone.”

According to Harmeyer and Lentini, the School of Fine Arts will be teaming up with other schools in the university this year. The Year of the Arts is also about celebrating the large presence the arts has had on Miami’s campus for many years. According to Lentini, President Alfred Upham established the School of Fine Arts in 1929, but the arts were a vital part of life on campus long before that.

“With over 200 arts events a year, it can be easy for them to slide under the radar. Year of the Arts is about celebrating that the arts are alive and well at Miami,” Lentini said.

According to Lentini, President Hodge was thrilled about the idea of spotlighting the arts in a special way this school year. “This is a great year to celebrate because the Miami University Marching Band will be the only collegiate band appearing at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Phillips Art Center will be opening and we will be bringing back distinguished alums at the end of the year for a special event,” Lentini said.

Aside from special events and intercollegiate partnerships, the university wants to hear specifically from students this year. Students can contribute stories of their personal encounters with art by sending an email to

“Arts have a big impact on everyone,” Lentini said. “Everyone has an intimate relationship with the arts.”