Friday, January 21, 2011

Art School Part I: Dreams and Obstacles

Almost five years ago exactly, I began my final semester of high school. I was full of naivety and willpower, as all seventeen-year-old adolescents are, and thanks to the support of a fantastic mentor and art teacher (and to the dismay of my parents who only wanted the best for me), I had a goal for my future. As I look back, it was truly this final semester that would set me on the path to where I am today.  I had late arrival and was enrolled in only two classes – 3D Design and AP Studio Art – and it was this 3D Design class that sparked my love for sculpture.  I became drawn to the tactile nature of working with the materials, and was overcome by the feeling of stepping back from a finished piece and experiencing the realness and immediacy of a three-dimensional creation. At the same time, I also became drawn to walking around the classroom and providing thoughtful feedback to my peers about their work. By the time graduation rolled around, my mind was made up –I would double major in Sculpture and Art Education at East Carolina University. I was headed for art school.

 My home for the past 4.5 years. Photo Credit:

In five days, I will begin my first semester in high school – this time from the other side of the teacher’s desk. I am very aware of how fortunate I am that somehow, over the past five years, I have been able to hold strong and stick to my goals. I am also aware of how incredibly rare that is.  You see, there’s always something that stands in the way of a person and their dreams, and in this case, that something is the only thing that has been constant in my life for the past four and a half years. That thing is art school. Think of it as less of an obstacle and more of an insane bipolar obstacle course of dastardly-designed traps, temptations, pitfalls, and dead-ends disguised beneath a facade of higher education. Please don’t get me wrong: the years I spent in art school are some of the best and most fulfilling years of my life. But I believe anyone who has been to art school can tell you that they have a love/hate relationship with it.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting my reflections on the educational highs and lows of my experience with art school, along with some anecdotal experiences of my peers.  Though my praise and criticism will highly be directed towards the School of Art and Design at ECU, I believe it will largely hold true for just about any art school. 

Check back next week for Art School Part 2:  Foundations, or The Don’t-Sleep-For-A-Year Experiment. 

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