In the midst of the usual rubbish the government is spouting about how useless arts subjects are I decided to write a post on reasons to study art or art and design at school.
I’d just like to clarify before you read this post any further that by only writing this post based on art and design I am in no way dismissing arts and performance subjects. I simply know more about art and design however I love theatre and performance so without these I’d also be lost.
I study Fine Art at a degree level but I have studied art since the beginning of my education including GCSE, A-Level and Foundation level and to be honest I have no idea what I would be doing with my life if I didn’t have art so I’ve compiled this list of points on why you should study art!
Opportunities created by the Internet: We live in a world today where we spend much of our day online so it only makes sense that companies keep up with technology and adapt their buisinesses around this, creating many more job opportunities for artists. These companies will need to hire someone to make their business look great online such as illustators, graphic designers etc. Another online job opportunity is online magazines which you can be part of to get your artwork seen which will help you as a practicing artist in the long run. The Internet has made it easier for artists to be noticed through their websites and also to find suitable jobs.
Recognition while studying: Art isn’t one of those jobs you have to wait years for to actually get anywhere. You can achieve recognition even when studying! Make sure people can see your work, maybe make your own website, set up a facebook page, sell your work, maybe just the right person will see it!
Coursework: For many students it is difficult for them to sit a written exam and their final grade may not actually reflect their knowledge on the subject. The great thing about art is that it’s pretty much all coursework! Some institutions may differ but in most cases the course is 100% coursework. This usually involves project work that you get to choose a theme for, some written work such as annotation and a possible written side to the project and an exhibition. For me, art was a great way to escape at exam time when I was still in school as it allowed me to relax and focus on coursework instead of revising for yet another exam.
Self discipline: Coursework is a great way to build upon this skill as you won’t always have someone checking how much you’ve done and telling you what to do that night at home. You are fully in charge of your own work and own grade which can be scary but if you want to do well and enjoy what you’re doing you’ll most likely make it work. Organisation is key and it will be a finely honed skill by the time you leave school.
Expression, happiness and choice: Although art can be stressful at times within the school environment and out, it was the one subject I took that gave me a positive outlook towards school life. In the art department I was free to express myself and do what I wanted to do instead of following a very strict curriculum. I could try out so many new things and if I didn’t like them then I could go back to something I did like. I had a choice in what my projects were based on and choice meant I was a lot more likely to love what I was doing.
Everyone is different: Everyone has a different style and it’s much harder to judge art therefore there isn’t really a bottom of the class. Sure you get graded in the end but it’s much harder to tell. Everyone will try different techniques, have different styles and have a different theme idea. You will be praised for being individual rather than doing wha the rest of the class does.
Engaged with the world: Art develops a very specific way of thinking that academic subjects do not. Through your research and practice you learn more about the world and can think about it on a much deeper level. You are more creative with your thinking and can read into things and consider more than one outcome. You become more engaged with your own body and mind which is positive in the sense of mental health and wellbeing.
Critical thinking: This is a very important part of artistic practice as you need to be critical towards your work and others in order to form an opinion and move forward in your work. Reflection is a large part of this and helps you decide why you like something, good and bad points, how it makes you feel and how you should move on. You will research other artists work and be asked to review these which builds up your ability to analyse and will help you loads in future years. This is again something a lot of academic subjects do not do.
I hope this post has showed some of you the importance of arts subjects and maybe even encouraged some of you to take these at school or college. Art is important and if you want to study it you should t let anyone tell you otherwise particularly because of the positive outcomes you will gain.