Choosing a major can be a daunting task, particularly if you are thinking about majoring in the arts. It can seem like you are deciding the whole of your future right here and now, and if you are considering the arts in any form, society, in general, tells us, “It’s too hard to make a living with an art degree!” The act of choosing a major may involve a lot of soul-searching and questioning, and sometimes the perceptions associated with becoming an artist can be discouraging.
For those who are considering becoming an art major, here are four things to think about before making that decision.
An arts degree is NOT a ticket to poverty.
This is a misconception fueled by the idea that the only thing you can do with an art degree is become a starving artist. There are many arts-related careers that will provide an income. Look at the hundreds of galleries, art centers, and museums nationwide that value experience in the arts. You could choose a career in art therapy, animation, graphic design, photography, or web design, though you may have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. But isn’t that the case in any career or discipline?
We need good art teachers!
Do a quick Google search on the importance of arts in education. You can find countless articles, papers, TED Talks, and other media on the topic, and yet arts education is still undervalued in our school systems. Despite this, all UMHB Art Education graduates quickly land a teaching position soon after graduating. You would have the opportunity to join them in championing the importance of art in our schools and meet that need!
You will work hard.
I’m not entirely sure where the myth of the lazy art major or the easy art class came from. To get an art degree, students must spend many hours in the art studios perfecting their craft. Each studio class meets for 5-6 hours a week, and students are expected to weekly spend the same amount of time in the studio outside of class. Multiply that with the other classes that are expected each semester, and you get the idea. It takes time and practice to master an art form, and the most dedicated students spend even more time in the studio!
If you have found your vocation, then it will be worth it.
Art can be a source of beauty and meaning in a world too often full of darkness. We all could use more beauty in our lives. Ask yourself if your desire to create art makes you happy. In the words of one of my favorite authors, Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”