by Nichelle Lyster
During the CPLA trip to Washington, D.C., we spent some time observing a bill debate concerning the streamlining of the U.S. mining permit system in the House of Representatives Chambers. Two representatives, one from Colorado and one from California, argued the bill. Both had strong arguments for why the bill should or should not pass, and watching the spectacle prompted for me yet another realization of the dire importance of effective communication. I tended to agree with the argument of the Californian representative, but he was unable to clearly or effectively describe his reasoning.
Why aren’t communication skills more highly valued in all professions?
Communication literacy in politics and campaign rhetoric need more attention. The people writing, reading, and debating bills and educating the public all have something to gain from taking the art of communication seriously. Often, after I am asked my major, I am met with another question: “What does that mean, to study Communication?” I usually answer that it depends entirely on the area you apply it to, but the common thread is that there is an entire aspect of human engagement that is highly underestimated and understudied.
Emerson’s involvement and dedication to bridging communication and politics is amazingly refreshing. Meeting with Emerson Alumni and the students enrolled in the program in D.C. inspired me to continue to my pursuit and advocacy for closer attention to communication. It was wonderful to get a closer look at the Congressional process and remember that those writing and voting on bills that directly effect our lives were once students as well. I hope that the students of Emerson and other colleges who inherit the positions of decision making will be more aware of the importance of the stories we tell and way in which we tell them.
By Rose Warren
The 555 foot tall Washington Monument. The 223 year old White House. The $3 million dollar Lincoln Memorial. None am I as excited for as Maya Lin’s Vietnam Memorial.
I’ve only been at Emerson for one semester, but it has already provided me so much. Professor Cher Knight has already taught me so much about art history and concept inIntroduction to Visual Arts. Organizations like CPLA have offered unique experiences and an outlet to apply my education. I am extremely excited to utilize both of these assets on the CPLA trip to Washington D.C.
As the Intro to Art textbook Living with Art outlines, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial “has served to bring a community together.” Unlike the other massive monuments in the U.S. National Mall, the Vietnam Memorial is subdued and humble. Lin was asked to make an objective place to commemorate those lost during the controversial war. Whether or not this is an unbiased piece of art is debatable, but either way this sculpture is a place of reflection and remembrance. I am very excited to reinforce the lesson when in the presence of the piece. Learning about the politics surrounding the creation and reception of the monument is also vital to understanding it. Citizens were upset because a young college student, who also happened to be Asian, was chosen to create the memorial. The claimed non-objectivity has been in question since Lin commented: “I imagined a taking a knife and cutting into the earth…the grass would grow back, but the initial cut would remain a pure flat surface in the earth with a polished, mirrored surface.” Her description can be understood simply as a design influence, or as a commentary on how governments deal with war and its aftermath. This brings into question the motivation of Lin’s art.
When I arrive at the memorial it will be very interesting to see how all the information I have been taught on the subject will influence my reaction to it. I am also excited to see the reactions of others. Being able to enhance one aspect of learning with an opportunity from another is amazing and something I am so grateful to be able to experience.