Paint Schoodic

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Heading off to art school

A typical day in the studio means a mix of youngsters and not-so-youngsters.
Tomorrow, two of my students are skipping class to attend National Portfolio Day at Syracuse University. I wouldn’t be encouraging students to pursue a career in the arts if I didn’t believe it was a viable career path.

Ever since President Obama said that “folks can make a lot more, potentially, with skilled manufacturing or the trades than they with an art history degree,” educators have been falling all over themselves to point out the value of a humanities education.

If you're not willing to work hard, it's best to major in something less demanding.
Anyone who has ever paid a plumber knows that, strictly speaking, the president was right. Very few kids are encouraged to go into the trades in modern America, and these jobs pay very well. Nor should they have any stigma attached to them; a craftsman is a craftsman, no matter what material he’s working with.

There is nothing more fun than working with youngsters.
But money is only part of the job-satisfaction equation, and art majors are among the happiest of all professionals, scoring higher than lawyers, financial managers, and high school teachers.

Sadly, a recent comprehensive survey administered online to arts alumni seems to indicate less satisfaction among recent graduates than among old-timers.  This is no surprise, since they’re graduating into the worst job market since the Great Depression, and I’d wager that lower job satisfaction is true of recent graduates across all disciplines.
There is nothing more fun than working with youngsters, even when they are eating a deep-fried turkey leg in class.
Student debt is a specter haunting all new college graduates, but can be particularly crushing for those with arts degrees. Less than a third of recent art alumni graduated with no debt, whereas half the older students reported doing so. About 14% of recent graduates finished school with more than $60,000 in student debt.

So I want to see those high school seniors on the hunt not only for admission, but for scholarship money. The best way to do that is to produce outstanding portfolios. That is tremendously hard work. If they’re not willing to do it, it’s better for them to major in something less demanding. The art world is a ruthless culler of the unmotivated.

Message me if you want information about the coming year’s classes and workshops.

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