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   Date: 5/14/10 Bookmark and Share

New Minor Follows Trend in Arts

By Julie Colatrella ’12

This weekend, seniors Nikki Maller and Melissa Choyce will become the first students to graduate from Smith with an arts and technology minor.

Approved last year by the Committee on Academic Priorities, the new area meets the needs of today’s developing artists and scientists with an interdisciplinary curriculum that integrates current technologies and computational resources with contemporary creative practice, scholarship, and original research.

“I studied traditional art, digital art, and computer science, said Maller. “I feel proud that I was able to bring a focus to all my different interests.”

Smith has always taken pride in its love of the arts, noted Joseph O’Rourke, S. and A. Olin Chair of Computer Science and director of the arts and technology minor, so it is logical that the college should follow the direction art is taking—increasingly using technology in the creative process.

Arts and technology therefore encompasses a spectrum of disciplines—art, music, dance, theater, film, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics, among others. It’s a field in which an artist can give a performance using iPhones as their instruments, for example, or where programs can emulate the designs of comic strips, said O’Rourke. “Technology is everywhere and people are using it as part of their art.”

By forging an innovative program that carefully considers the dynamic intersection of art practice with current and emerging technologies, Smith is poised to become a national leader, he said.

“I think the minor is a necessary step for the college,” Maller says, “because the unpredictable combinations that art and technology create is the direction our world is moving in.”

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