March 26, 2004

Back to School

One thing I neglected to mention about my student who is contemplating quitting school is that it is his parents, both of them, who have insisted that he go to art school. Now that is a real turn around. Rarely do I hear of parents one hundred percent in favor of art school. And given the statistics about graduates, there is good reason. I have heard (and forgive me if I have the numbers a little off) that ten years after graduating, 10% (someone actually said 2%) will still be in the field, making art, and of those, only 10% will make over $10,000 a year from their artwork (it used to be $6,000 but there has been some improvement, maybe). My parents didnít object to my going to art school. In those days the thinking was that Iím a girl and would get married, right? But they also didnít object to my quitting. I had a B.A. in Literature and I knew how to cook and sew. But my history with school was never that I thought it a good place to be. (I even tried to walk out on pre-school at age four. It didnít work. I was sent back.)

I had a student once who was complaining constantly about how stupid this school is, how much better his old school was, etc. etc. So I suggested he quit. The next year he was president of the Student Council. Either he was lonely and wanted to ďfit inĒ or else he found a better way to complain.

In that one year of art school that I had, I learned invaluable skills. It was a very good year, difficult, demanding and rewarding. I had the best of teachers, the best of instruction. I can teach because I have been making art for many years. But I also learn as much from my students as they learn from me. Different things, definitely. I learn how younger people see this ever changing world, how they view the ever broadening field of visual art. But more important I learn how to communicate what I see and to see from their point of view and to find ways to help them clarify and develop their skills and ideas. I am still learning.

Posted by leya at March 26, 2004 08:03 AM