Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Morning Wood: No flak for the FAC

Amanda Joinson/Collegian file photo

Here at the University of Massachusetts we have an amazing Fine Arts Center.  It is only appropriate that this fine building is an example of fine art itself.  Every day as I walk to class I make sure to take a moment to really take it all in:  the graceful concrete façade, the striking walls than don’t enclose anything.  It is as if a giant concrete alien came and took a magical dump in the middle of our campus.

Some may wonder if it is worth the resources to keep the Fine Arts Center around.  They forget that the beauty and grace of the Fine Arts Center has not only an aesthetic but functional purpose.  As the face of Helen launched a thousand ships, the magnificent looks of the Fine Arts Center have brought countless new students to UMass.  Every time I see tour groups on campus I always overhear compliments about how beautiful the campus is and how the Fine Arts Center really brings it all together.

I can say from personal experience that the Fine Arts Center is the reason I came to UMass.  I remember coming to tour the campus and being struck by the magnificent architecture of the Fine Arts Center.  At that point, my mind was made up.  I’m sure many of my peers can relate to my story as the Fine Arts Center has affected us all in some way.

Some people don’t appreciate the Fine Arts Center the way they should.  That’s OK.  As with any masterpiece of fine art, from Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” to Dostoyevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov,” there are some who simply will not get it.  The scope of the work of the art is just too much for them to comprehend.  There will always be detractors who say the Fine Arts Center is an ugly eyesore.  They see the bleak gray color, the harsh angular structure and cold foreboding presence and don’t like it.  They actually prefer structures made of brick, like the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, or of glass, like the Integrated Sciences Building.

While we should be accommodating to these tasteless fools, we should not give in.  Bleak, gray, Soviet-style architecture is the way of the future.  We must not give in in preserving this monument of style against the great unwashed who would replace it.  As the Library of Alexandria was the center of culture in the ancient world, the Fine Arts Center is the center of culture on campus.

Long live the FAC!  And let us not stop with just the FAC but also all the similar looking prisons, warehouses and mausoleums that dot our great land.  Each of these can boast of its own achievements in bleakness, harshness and un-invitingness but few of them can match up to the FAC.  In terms of sheer amount of these qualities, the FAC surpasses almost all of its competitors.  It should stand as an inspiration to architects and designers everywhere:  a triumphant monument to human accomplishment in the arts!

If only every building could be as beautiful as the Fine Arts Center.  Think of what a world we could live in.  Gray on  gray on gray, everywhere!  Concrete as far as the eye can see!  Giant slabs of concrete that don’t seem to serve any real purpose lying all over the place!  It would be a beautiful world, a better world. No more color or texture just a single unifying blah-ness.

Maybe we can only dream of a world filled with Fine Arts Centers, but we can properly revere and maintain the one we already have.  Just take some time the next time you are out and about and look at it.  Like a magnificent sunset, or a flower garden in bloom, the Fine Arts Center is a reminder that there is transcendent beauty in this world.  Its charm serves to both astound and amaze us.  It serves as a constant reminder that there is more to life than just the mundane and every day.

Drizzle Meeks can be reached in the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.


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