UNL students organize peaceful protest

Some UNL students took advantage of the summer's first First Friday Art Walk to protest a proposal to get ride of the university's art education program.

Artists and Lincoln residents staged a peaceful protest to rally public support for keeping the art education program.  Last month, UNL officials announced plans last month to cut the program.  Some students, like Natanael Perez, say it will be a big mistake if they go through with it.  Perez is an art education student and says, “The university does come out with some of the best art educators in the entire state.  So wouldn't it make sense to keep that program, to try to attract other potential art educators to the university, rather than say, Kearney or UNO?”

People walking by, it was hard not to notice the many paintings and drawings.  Some even joined in by drawing on the sidewalk.  Perez says this type of expression is the best way to develop young minds.  “Art is about thinking and we want our students to be critical thinkers and art is the best way of learning how to become critical thinkers.”

Fellow art education student Samantha Shamburek says while the protest was peaceful, they still want their message heard loud and clear.  “There are so many people here today supporting us and clearly the arts have touched them.  We'd just love for the people at the university to see that the arts are just as important as the other subjects.”

There will be a hearing on Tuesday, May 10 at UNL regarding the art education program.  The program falls under the College of Education and is separate from the Art Department.