Saturday, May 19, 2012

Art School

No, it isn't a sexually transmitted disease, but an art school.


We spent the weekend in Savannah, seeing a Flannery O'Conner play at SCAD - the Savannah College of Art and Design.  And it was fun - although it seems that everyone in Savannah is either a tourist or a SCAD student.

The students all dress weirdly, have tattoos and piercings, and bizarre hair.  I guess you could call it being 'Arty' but it was not very individualistic - everyone dressed in the same bizarre way.  My friend asked how they came to dress this way, and I speculated that the school actually provides these clothes and haircuts as sort of a school uniform.

But it was fun to visit and see eager young faces doing drama - the stars of tomorrow.   I only hope, however, that they don't spend too much money doing this, and add to the number of recent grads bitching about too many student loans and no jobs available.   There is no point in going to "school" to be an artist, only to spend the rest of your life working some non-art-related "job" to pay back your student loans.   In fact, it seems to me to be about the worst way possible to be an artist.

Because in art, there are few "jobs" and the few that are available, are swamped with applicants.  In music, for example, for every position available in an orchestra, one friend told me, there are about 100 applicants, of which 50 are highly qualified.   There are a lot of people who want to be musicians - but few gigs, particularly in classical.


There is no point in going to "school" to be an artist, only to spend the rest of your life working some non-art-related "job" to pay back your student loans.   In fact, it seems to me to be about the worst way possible to be an artist.

But kids make poor choices - this is sort of a given.   I made poor choices as a youth.   I ran up $38,000 in student loans, smoked pot, ran up credit cards, bought a brand-new economy car, got a string of speeding tickets and paid $3800 a year for car insurance, and well, did a lot of dumb things.

But, I realized that the dumb things I did were my fault.  I stopped speeding (eventually) and got my car insurance down to $15 a month.  I stopped smoking pot and squandering money.  I paid off my student loans and realized that borrowing money isn't an "answer" to anything in life - as it has to be paid back, with interest.

Today, we see kids given the opportunity to do even dumber things - methamphetamine, instead of pot.  $100,000 in student loan debt, instead of 20 or 30 grand.   And as a result of this, when a kid makes stupid mistakes today, they may end up screwing up their whole lives.

I worry about these kids.   They are so young and full of energy and ideas.   You want to see them succeed.   But if they make a lot of stupid mistakes early on in life - like borrowing tons of money that they will spend the rest of their lives paying back - it is troubling.

And I am not sure that the "answer" is to have me pay for their mistakes.

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