I was sitting at dinner with two friends last night and somehow we got on the topic of careers and what would have we done if not what we do currently. Not one of us could confidently say a second path - none of us could say, "we'll this other thing I am good at/find interesting could have been my career".

All three of us have a home in the arts.

One of us had the 'ease' of knowing since he was a little boy that he was going to design cars. And even though halfway through college he branched out to industrial design instead of just transportation - he is currently designing infotainment centers for one of the big three American car companies.

One of us was lost - truly lost. Grades were low, loved sports, had no drive. His mom has told me many times that she was afraid he would end up in jail - he had no motivation to do any schoolwork. Then somehow he landed in an art class, convinced his art teacher to help him make a portfolio, went to one if the top art college, and also does design work for one of the big three.

One of us was also lost, but in a different way. I was lost in the expectations and ideas that I wasn't good at school. Sure, I made most A's and b's - but I spent most of it confused and frustrated - except for geometry, for some reason geometry and I got along really well. I found art in college - in a weaving class. I had taken drawing the semester before and more or less hated it. Weaving though, weaving opened a whole world to me. I realized in that class that my whole life I had been smart - I had been talented. Instead of math and writing - my smarts were in spacial/visual avenues. I always enjoyed and understood "crafts" and "artsy" things - but no one ever said that I could make a life off that. It wasn't till weaving class in college that my path was clear. I called my mom and told her I was going to be an Art teacher. I fought back tears from the relief and peace of knowing where I was going of my vocation.

All three of us sat eating wings and fries chuckling about how we were all saved by art. We are all active members of society through art. My hope and dream for the future is that more adults encourage and foster the arts in kids lives - that we change this idea of arts being"special"and you can't make a life off of it. There are a lot of art based jobs that are in constant demand: graphic designer, fashion design, package design, product design, car, shoe, furniture, websites, advertisements, photography, film, CGI, animation, landscaping, teaching, artist, dancing, singing, composing, stage, screenplays, set dressing, director, and much more. Society needs art, humans need art, companies need artists.


Tempest said...

I was also 'saved' by art as a teenager, and I'm now a teaching artist in NYC. I do a lot of work with kids living in underserved areas because I know firsthand how art has the power to reach down and pluck up its chosen and save them from...themselves, society, whatever demon is leering over their shoulder. Art has SO many benefits that I can quote at people in an academic conversation, but really, I teach it to reach out to those kids who need to find it in order to find themselves.

Thanks for this post. It's always nice to be reminded about how incredible art is on an individual level.
-Tempest, doodlesnyc.com

Ms Novak said...

I teach it to reach out to those kids who need to find it in order to find themselves.

This is so powerful! I think I have been trying to say this for years - but it always comes out muddled through paragraphs and examples.

Thank You.

Jen Carlisle said...

What a powerful post. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Wow what a powerful post and powerful quote tempest! "I teach it to reach out to those kids who need to find it in order to find themselves."

I am also an art teacher and experienced being "found" in 6th grade when I started taking a clay class at a community center. One of my goals for each year is to have students try as many mediums as possible so they can have that ah-ha moment of knowing that they belong somewhere and that they are good at something!

Anonymous said...

Super cool post.... ...a Dad