Why You Should Go To Art School

Charles Strange photographed by Will Staley.
Image: willstaleyphotography.com

The most common question every high school student gets from their teachers, peers, and even grade-schoolers is “How was your summer?” Whenever I was asked this question, my automatic answer was “Busy with art school”. The “Wow”s and “How cool!”s were great and all, but I almost felt offended by the satirical tone many people had when I mentioned art school. Is it funny to them? Do they think you can paint a tree and become an artist? Sure everyone thought about art school one time or another in that sort of derogatory way, but I was hoping people saw what I saw. Art school is no joke. At. All. Art school is full of incredibly creative and talented people that are immensely competitive and ready to vomit out gossip about you the second you show weakness. No one should go to art school–unless you are ready for it.

“With UCLA and Yale University tie for the best Fine Arts Programs, students are starting slowly starting to apply less to art schools because of the competition, drama, and toughness.” – USNews

The ability to talk about art in a way that was focused on conceptuality rather than content opened both my mind and my eyes to the beauty in artworks I one saw as less than.

Maeve McLaughlin photographed by Will Staley.
Image: willstaleyphotography.com

Please don’t let the scary first few sentences discourage you from reading on and going to an art school if you are applying to college like I am. I loved my experience at an art school this past summer. I did a three-week program that I enjoyed greatly, and I will remember the wonderful friendships and experiences I had. The ability to talk about art in a way that was focused on conceptuality rather than content opened both my mind and my eyes to the beauty in artworks I one saw as less than.

However, experiences and the great talks with my teachers didn’t stop me from ending most of school days crying on the floor from stress. Whether the stress was from homework, friends, or my inability to dress as fashionably as everyone else, I was stressed out. With “10 percent of the student body at the Rhode Island School of Design, 25 percent at the Maryland Institute College of Art, 30 percent at the Savannah College of Art and Design” (Chronicle) all regularly going to mental health therapy, I wasn’t the only one there having panic attacks. If I disregard the obvious negativity and look more positively, the program provided me a healthy amount of stress and challenged me in a great way. I created some great art and I was able to work on my own personal portfolio.

No one should go to art school–unless you are ready for it.

Displayed in this article are my photos that I created at my program and you can judge them for yourself. Are you willing to pay “the cost of fees and tuition combined, the average net cost of attending is $42,000” for art school (Campus Explorer). Personally, I am but that’s only because I know what I want to do. I have narrowed down my major to the most it can go and I am very decided on what I want to do in college.

Shown below are some pro and cons for art school and STEM school:

Image: willstaleyphotography.com

The $42,000 is not spent wastefully for many art students, but rather is used to create amazing art. Don’t get me wrong, art school is perfect for many people and career-wise “professional artists, art-related organizations, and corporate art-related departments seek out art students when trying to fill positions” (College Raptor) when looking for job opportunities. According to SAS senior and art student Mina Troise, “Art school is just as important as STEM schools, and I think there should be more art schools. It’s definitely not a waste of waste of money if you know what you want to do.” Many art students feel this way at SAS and in the art world and going to art school has a very positive experience for many people.

I hope anyone applying to college realizes that no one should go to art school, unless you are ready and you realize the pros and the cons.

XOXO Gossip Gay ❤

Update: I got into Parsons!

Author: Will Staley

Will Staley is currently a senior and this is his second year working for the Eye. This is also his second year living in Singapore, having moved from St. Louis, Missouri USA. Will enjoys photography and has a photography website (willstaleyphotography.com). He hopes to pursue photography and journalism for his college and career, while being involved in his passion of politics and humanitarian work. He can be contacted at staley774011@sas.edu.sg.

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