Art is essential

Art is Guam’s natural intelligence. All forms of art – music, visual arts, cultural heritage, literature and arts education. Marvel at the award-winning dance performances. Feel your soul lifted as you hear Guam singers. Appreciate the paintings as they speak to you. Guam people are naturally talented at creating, displaying, demonstrating and performing.

The arts are just as essential as the sciences.

When Guam charter schools opened in 2009, it was a dream that Southern High become Guam’s Fine Arts Charter School – preschool through high school. Can you imagine the accomplishments that would beam through those halls?

There have been consistent advocates for the arts. During the 90s, K Rhymer, GDOE school program consultant for art in the C&I unit, facilitated student art shows at the Hilton and Pacific Star. “Trucks & Rainbows” was an annual favorite. Isla Center for the Arts began nurturing our youngest students in 1977 through its Art-a-Thon. Isla would display the masterpieces at their gallery in Dean’s Circle.

It makes great sense that the University of Guam realizes its vision of nurturing Guam’s future from the start. Then UOG President Pedro Sanchez nurtured this value when he established the Insular Arts Council in 1967. It late became the Guam Council on the Arts and Humanities Agency.

When the pandemic hit, this work continued. Dr. Velma Yamashita, associate professor of art and coordinator for Isla Center of the Arts, got creative. The show must go on, she knew. And, it did. The first-ever UOG virtual undergraduate art exhibit sprung to life in 2020, followed by Creative Hands, a juried display of local artists. This semester, the Gallery Management and Exhibition Design Class facilitated the Art-a –Thon in a virtual environment.