It's been awhile since I've written an all text blog post, hasn't it? I bet you guys thought I'd learned my lesson, and it'd be all art and picture posts from here on out. You were oh so wrong.
This past weekend is an exercise in doing for others. I was raised in a household where bragging was a huge taboo. You don't brag about yourself or your kids, you allow your accomplishments (and theirs) to speak for themselves. I don't want you guys to think that's what I'm doing. There's a fine line between sharing and bragging, and I hope I'm not crossing it. On Friday I spent my afternoon helping out at a local middle school with a new SEQA program- Comics in the Curriculum. There were six grad students to at least forty eighth graders, with a few sixth graders thrown in. We were trying to cover a lot of material, and many of the kids had trouble focusing, and really, there needs to be more grad student involvement for this project to really work. Working with these kids reminds me so much of the little time I was able to spend helping out at Hahnville, and how sadly understaffed and underfunded public school art programs are.
I didn't take art in highschool. It wasn't that I didn't desperately want to, it was that it was unaccessible to me. My time was taken up with honors classes, choir, ensemble, and ROTC, but I drew and inked a comic page nightly, kept a sketchbook, and was more diligent than most of the talented art students. A lot of them gave up art after highschool. I'm here at SCAD now. The point is, I had no idea how bad things were in the art department when I was in highschool.
These kids deserve so much better. The worst part is they're too young to think they can't draw, and some of them are trotting out that excuse when it's obvious that they WANT to draw. I don't blame the teacher, but the environment. So many parents think a career in the arts is the wrong way to go, and spend a great deal of time discouraging the pursuit. It's easy to justify cutting funding to fine art programs, while it's hard to take money away from the band and the football team. I'm clearly biased, but I think schools need to get their priorities straight.
There is art in every aspect of your life, from the packaging your food comes in (graphic design) to the books on your self (illustration/ sequential art/ graphic desigh/ typography). The dream of a career in an art field doesn't have to be farfetched, especially if we work towards changing public attitudes. We create the world we live in.
On a lighter note, today I did SCADDay tours. I was partnered with Julie Collins (whom I've done SCADDay tours with before) and we were relieving Heidi and Professor Hudson. Although my tour schedule was light, Heidi says they gave several tours. Most of the kids I've shown round Norris are accompanied by parents, many of which are full of questions that their kids don't think to ask. I think it's fantastic when parents come with their kids for the tour, its a real show of support. It's a bit lame to admit this, but my mom came with me for my graduate student tour. That's pretty unusual, but her attending my tour showed me that even though she voiced concern, she really believed that I was capable of a professional art career. At the time, my father had just recently passed away (like, a couple months prior), so it really meant a lot to have my mom by my side. I know my mother would prefer that I focus on children's books, but knowing that she believes in me is worth a lot, especially since some of my friends feel that their parents aren't very supportive. Family is extremely important in Louisiana (some people never leave the street they were born on, and a lot of people never leave their hometown), and having my family flung across the country limited the amount of support and care I recieved growing up, and I know I have family that could care less that I'm going for my Masters. I'm just appreciative that it isnt my parents.