Look who’s advocating for the arts?

I know that I promised a post about Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Art this week. But, I happened to find inspiration for art.college.life. in two unexpected places, so CMU will need to wait a week. I hope you’ll forgive me.

It’s not every day – ok, it’s rare – to find artistic vision from political columnists or corporate magazines. This past week provided those exceptions.

follow your passion signDavid Brooks is a well-known conservative political and cultural writer for The New York Times with a long-standing resume. In Friday’s newspaper, he wrote about the passion-driven among us, and the benefit they bring to the rest of society. Nice words to hear for those driven to study the arts.

I also stumbled across an article on Forbes.com highlighting the benefits of an art degree. And the strong career opportunities that lay ahead.

Hello? Where am I? Have I fallen into an alternate universe?

human figure2In this day and age when studying math and science, and earning a large salary still dominate conversations for career-focused high school parents, it’s encouraging and refreshing to hear from two business savvy representatives of the value – both now and for the future – of “leaning in” towards the arts.

Skepticism is common among parents of those wanting to study the arts. I get that. To me – these two articles speak to allowing our kids to be who they are, giving them the room to find themselves, and accepting that studying the arts can lead to incredible and challenging future careers. I know that sounds counter to common belief. I hope you’ll read both articles. And let me know what you think.

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What’s Missing From Your Portfolio?



(c) CloudKid animation

(c) CloudKid animation

MassArt alumnae Dave Schlafman and Matt Karl founded CloudKid, an up-and-coming artist-driven studio based in the Boston area. Their young company has received attention for creating award-winning games, animations, apps, and websites for the likes of Nickelodeon, Hasbro Toys, PBS Kids, Scholastic, and Disney Online. Pretty cool.

If you’re interested in animation and kids, this sounds like a creative and collaborative place to work. But here’s the thing; they recently posted a blog about the difficulty they’re having searching for a good animator. The message: drive and passion need to be visible.

The post offers up suggestions for future job seekers but is applicable to future college students as well. The insight and advice shared could help you land a job with CloudKid or help you gain acceptance into the college of your dreams. Either way, my suggestion is to read on, and keep drawing…


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What do professors look for in a potential student?

Grit - Running up stairsWhile researching the variety of art colleges and programs across the country I get the opportunity to talk with a lot of admissions professionals and professors. From size to location and focus, they all share the same goal of guiding their students as they become productive and successful artists and designers. While each program is unique, they employ similar methodologies to reach their goals and objectives. One objective they share is to begin each school year with a class of motivated students.

Why? Research has shown that those who are motivated – driven and passionate about their path of study – will be the most successful in the long run. In today’s vernacular, “grit” is the term you hear most often.

Whether you call it motivation, passion, drive, or something else entirely, it turns out that grit greatly matters. Psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth has researched the subject extensively, and she shared her observations about the connection between grit and success at a TedTalks Education forum in April of last year.

Are you passionate about your art? If so, then make sure those at the colleges you apply to can see it. We all know that the things we’re motivated about are those we spend more time on. Put time and dedication into your work now. Search beyond your classroom projects to find opportunities to expand and challenge yourself. Your portfolio will be richer for it, and your investment will pay off when it’s time to apply to college.passion-wordle-1

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