Art in Service of a Greater Cause

Kerry Randazzo’20 combined his love of theatre arts with a major in environmental arts and communications. “I began to think more about my art and how it could best be put to use in service of a greater cause, with more focus on applying my performance art and costume design to get my audiences to engage with environmental issues.”

Class Year: 2020
Major(s): Environmental Studies (Arts and Communications), Theatre Production, Theatre Performance.
Where do you call home? Portland, Maine.

How did you hear about Beloit? What made you excited to come here?

I heard about Beloit through the book Colleges that Change Lives. I was taking a gap year at the time and looking for a small, inclusive school with a strong sense of community. When I visited Beloit, that was what I found! Everyone I met seemed very genuine and down to earth. I didn’t feel like I was being looked down upon at all, both administrators, professors, and students seemed genuinely interested in me as a person, and made me feel like I would be an asset to the college, not that the college would just be an asset to me. I felt like I would be truly valued at Beloit!

What kind of activities are you involved with on campus?
Outdoor Environmental Club, Vegetarian Co-op, Theatre, Costume Shop, Improv, Overnight Hosting, Student films, Resident Assistant.

I started out as a theatre major and had my work study in the costume shop of the theatre department. I soon realized that I enjoyed making costumes much more than performing and shifted the focus of my major. When I was in my sophomore year, I began to think more about my art and how it could best be put to use in service of a greater cause. Environmental Arts and Communications worked perfectly for this because it provided me with more focus and opportunities to apply my performance art and costume design towards trying to get my audiences to engage with environmental issues that I care about.

What off-campus opportunities have you enjoyed?
Two abroad experiences (China and Hungary) and an internship with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. I would not have been able to pursue these opportunities if not for the guidance and support from mentors and advocates at the college such as my major advisors and the people who work at our career and engagement center. I had never left the U.S. before coming to Beloit, and now I feel that I have an entirely new perspective as a citizen of the world, not just of Maine, or Wisconsin, or the U.S. Getting these chances to go abroad not only introduced me to new people in different parts of the world but also provided real-world context for what it means to be from the U.S. from a global perspective.

What has been your favorite class so far?
Contemporary Art in the Age of Global Warming. It was the first time I learned about and contemplated that artists are just as necessary as scientists in the fight against climate change, and it heavily informed the career path I am choosing to pursue.

What has been your most unexpected Beloit experience?
Getting the chance to go to China to study the Yellow River! I never thought that I would get to do something like that when I was in high school.

What’s been your biggest academic challenge?
Learning to take a back seat and listen to others when I need to, even if I have something to say.

Where is your favorite space on campus?
The Poetry Garden.

Where are you and your friends on Saturday night?
Hanging out in someone’s apartment or going to Music House shows.

What would your advice be to future Beloiters?
Learn how to think critically and deconstruct issues, but try to be equally as open and excited for possible solutions to the issues at hand, and offer your ideas.

How do you think Beloit has prepared you?
It has taught me that there are a myriad of ways to approach any topic or issue, and that being well-rounded in your education will lead you to ask the questions and have the insights that others often don’t.

What’s next for you?
Hopefully working in a professional costume shop, eventually going to graduate school.

How has financial aid and other support from the college impacted you? What does it mean to you that alumni and others give to the college to support your education?
Financial aid has been instrumental in me being able to afford coming to college. Part of the reason I have been able to come to school in the first place is because Beloit made it affordable for me. I think the fact that Beloit is often so generous is in line with its institutional values of providing support to those who need it.

February 03, 2020

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