Art student emphasizes value of art education

posted in: Opinion | 0

The art department recently announced the implementation of a newly restructured program to teach students what we should already know: an artistic education is relevant and widely applicable in today’s job market.

I am a senior double major, one of those majors being art with little to no intention of pursuing a career in fine arts and I can wholeheartedly say my Studio Arts education here has significantly prepared me for my future in policy and social advocacy.

In talking to the people behind the restructuring of the art department, they kept saying over and over again that this new program will focus on teaching people the value of the skills they learn in art classes and how those skills can be used in science, education, writing and business.

As they were talking, I kept thinking to myself, “Yes. Obviously. We should all know that.” But we don’t all know that.

One thing I really have noticed, even here at our liberal arts school, is that not enough people give a creative-based education a chance.

I constantly hear that the general education requirements are a pain and that people from other disciplines don’t want to be bothered with art classes because they are a waste of time.

The communication skills you learn in completing art projects are so marketable to employers and they overarch into so many other things that people don’t realize.

Art has taught me to be an effective and creative problem solver, an expert at self-motivation and time management, the ability to communicate clearly with others, the value of collaboration, the ability to find intersectional connections between myself and other groups, skills of relating to an audience, marketing, writing and a myriad of other things that are invaluable to my skills as a writer, advocate and leader. Most importantly, art has taught me how to move from an idea to an outcome.

If I come up with an idea, no matter how far-fetched or seemingly out of my reach it may be, I have the skills to self-educate and self-motivate myself to realize that idea as a reality.

That skill and confidence in my abilities is what has driven my work for the Center for Gender Equity.

It got me an incredibly competitive internship and fellowship and will continue to make me a very employable person. I really believe I get the job offers and opportunities I do because of my art education and my ability to communicate how those skills make me useful.

The restructure of the art department is wonderful and I am very thankful for it but I wish students could realize the value of art without having it spelled out before their faces. I am not saying everyone should be an art major or dedicate all of their time to art.

But I am honestly tired of hearing my science, business and math friends say they don’t get art, don’t want to get it and don’t want to waste their time on it. We go to a liberal arts school but it seems like we have forgotten what that means.

People come here because they value skills and ideas they gain from a variety of courses.

If you think that is a waste of time, you picked the wrong school to go to. It is our job to make the connections between our classes and the work we want to pursue.

If you feel like you are not getting anything out of a class, whether it is an art class or something else, it is your failure. Not your educations’.


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