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To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
Congratulations on last Tuesday's perceptive editorial recommending revision of Fine Arts 12. But I regret that the argument was not carried further. Now that the problem of creative art in Harvard education has been raised, it seems inadequate merely to seek the revision of a single course without taking cognizance of a more general need in the College.
If Harvard continues to believe in training men who will be sensitive, disciplined, and articulate, it would seem that the University cannot afford to neglect active, direct esthetic experience as a principal source for precisely such training. "Manual work" in liberal education makes as much sense as it does to those anxious to rescue culture from the talkers. The responsibility for encouraging student work in creative art and providing facilities should be accepted by the administration as part of an expanded program of general art education.
Those who have read "General Education in a Free Society," and those members of the Fine Arts Department who helped write it, may remember this passage from the section on Harvard: "The development of creative ability for the pleasure and satisfaction that creative work, even on a nonprofessional basis, can bring must be recognized. Opportunity must be given the student to explore the possibilities for himself in drawing, painting, and modeling. Facilities and supervision should be provided on an extra-curricular basis. Just as the student with musical talent can play in the orchestra or sing in the glee club with the best professional direction, so a student should be able to do water colors or model with the aid of really competent guidance. A studio open to all students with a professional painter or sculptor in charge is a desirable aim."
There is already considerable student interest in such a studio. An even greater potential interest exists, for a great many students would like to know what art is, and have not found out from "appreciation" courses. If the widespread concern with education for the "whole man" is to mean more than words, Harvard must organize a creative arts studio. Robert S. Beckwith '52
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