Is art school worth it? – The Utah Daily Chronicle

Langley Hayman

The work of local artist Jenna Louise Rogan on display at the Urban Arts Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah on Oct. 7, 2021. (Photo by Langley Hayman | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Lawyers go to law school. Doctors go to medical school. Artists go to art school. While there are countless other paths one could take to become an artist rather than a brain surgeon, art school offers the aspirant valuable guidance and experience.

What’s wrong with art school?

The myth of the self-taught artist, embraced by the muses and suffering in an attic, is persistent, romantic and patently false. Creativity must be harnessed through hard work and passion. The school of art reduces and refines the capacities of the artist, like a stone pressed into a diamond.

Eric Oliver, a University of Utah graduate with a BFA in graphic design and an assistant professor of digital media at Utah Valley University, explained the importance of art school

“People say ‘Oh, you can be self-taught on YouTube’ – and the problem with that is that YouTube doesn’t offer feedback when you’re done doing something – art school does,” said Oliver. “It teaches you to take harsh feedback. It teaches you skills, how to refine your work and ask questions about your work. It teaches you how to constantly improve.

To its platonic ideal, the art school fosters a community. As a film and media arts student, I remember how entering my first film class was an important and exciting experience. For the first time in my life, I met people who loved cinema as much as I did. People who talked about Sergei Eisenstein and Akira Kurosawa. People who didn’t look at me like I had two heads when I used the term “MacGuffin” when talking about a thriller. In art school, a student finds other people with similar goals and mentors who can help them make wild dreams come true.

Art by local artist Vivian Arthur on display at the Urban Arts Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 7, 2021. (Photo by Langley Hayman | The Daily Utah Chronicle) (Langley Hayman)

Community is the most important part of art school

The creative atmosphere that emerges when artists discuss their work and exchange ideas with each other helps to educate and spark inspiration. Art is about connecting and having a conversation with the audience. Immediate feedback from other students and faculty can help artists learn how to do this.

Lien Fan Shen, assistant professor in the Department of Film and Media Arts, described her time at the School of Visual Arts when she worked for an MFA.

“During these years, I met so many talented artists – they are so creative and every time they talked about their ideas, it gave me so much inspiration,” Shen said. “So in a way, I think the kind of community has been the most beneficial thing for me.”

Art schools provide the opportunity to develop working relationships with like-minded artists. Additionally, these relationships can be helpful in fostering future independent artwork.

Thanks to the art school, his artistic sensibility broadened. Film students are introduced to different cinematic styles and modes. Visual artists learn to use acrylics, oils, 3D animation software, sculpting clay, and other materials they might otherwise not have touched. The dancers take lessons in ballet, tap, modernity and hip-hop. Students are pushed out of their comfort zone and learn a lot and hopefully find something they love.

V. Kim Martinez, professor of painting and drawing in the U.S. Department of Art and Art History and a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, described art school as a period of ‘exploration.

“You could say, ‘I want to do a painting. I want to make it out of molten aluminum,” Martinez said. “It’s going to do something very different from acrylic paint…and aluminum will never do what a computer screen can do. Vice versa. So you have to become sensitive to materials and understand, if I’m using this material and trying to say this, then what material is going to answer my question better? »

Art school helps artists learn about all the different ways they can express themselves. This draws them deeper into their art, strengthening their knowledge of the chosen discipline.

So, is art school worth it? I believe him. The art is worth it. Finding other people with the same interests and goals as you is worth it. Education is worth it, not only in an academic sense, but also to learn from those around you. Art school is too expensive for a mere appreciator, but those lucky enough to get into the right program, with the right teachers and an understanding of the surprisingly hard work ahead of them, can find a place to relax. improve by doing what they love and forge a unique identity.

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Kayleen C. Rice