November 11, 2010
Matt Rothschild Dicker (Class of 2004), author of the highly celebrated memoir Dumbfounded, listens to Janis Hirsch (Class of 1972), executive Producer of Will & Grace and writer for numerous television shows including Murphy Brown, Frasier and The Nanny.
One of the most prominent fields of study at Rollins College is the arts, including music, dance, art, art history and theater. On the afternoon of the College's 125th Anniversary celebration, community members gathered in Tiedtke Hall to hear a discussion about current media and the arts, and also where a degree in the arts can take students in today's society. The panel included three distinguished Rollins alumni, television producer Janis Hirsch (Class of 1972), author Matt Rothschild Dicker (Class of 2004), and playwright Beth Lincks (Class of 1975)—who writes under the nom de plume Arlene Hutton, all of whom have had successful careers in the arts. The panelists discussed their careers and shared tips for current students to achieve success in the industry. "My advice is to say 'yes' to everything and don't underestimate the power of networking. A major part of this industry is knowing the right people at the right time," Hirsch said.
Some of the issues brought up during the panel were dealing with professional frustrations, the value of maintaining commercial appeal while keeping the integrity of individual art forms and personal expression, the role of artists within a larger community, and ways to "make it" in the business. All three panelists agreed that a major part of keeping the arts alive in years to come is by using the arts to give context to real-life scenarios. Everybody wants to be entertained – the arts are a valuable tool for making social and political commentary as well as serving as a source of relief from the stresses of daily life.
"In today's society, there is a powerful need for the arts in order for us to emotionally process the tenor of our own age," said Professor of Theater Jennifer Cavenaugh, who mediated the discussion. Overall, the panel was effective in communicating just how crucial the arts are to our culture today, and it emphasized the importance of supporting the industry in the future.
View all photos from this panel.
By Sarah Hartman (Class of 2011)
Office of Public Relations & Community Affairs
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