Art of any kind has a strange social incongruence to it: when successful, it’s highly regarded and infinitely valued. When anything less than, it’s more often than not considered as casually and patronisingly as a fleeting romance.
Even more disappointingly, many of the most adored artists in history, in a number of artistic categories, have felt such admiration posthumously
FIU ought to do more to promote its various and notable art departments because doing so can only be beneficial. It would encourage young artists to seek out a formal education here and help change the misguided perception that the arts are always dying, that there aren’t careers or ways to survive as an artist without divine intervention or a stroke of pure luck.
And while a degree isn’t a necessary milestone in being successful in any artistic field, getting a degree in art isn’t a bad idea. It can be used not only as a way to refine skills and pick up new techniques, but also as a backup plan; as a way of seeking out other avenues of staying in the art community without being the next Katharine Hepburn or Van Gogh.
Art is based on talent and passion, and even without becoming a household name, it’s absolutely possible to make a living and a difference in the world by way of art.
FIU boasts an impressive theater department and also offers art, visual arts, art history, art education, musical performance and music education through various degree programs.
Few people are even aware that FIU offers vocal performance as a major and has an opera theater among other vocal ensembles, but no one would be surprised to learn that FIU offers various avenues of engineering focuses, mathematics, or any field of science as a major.
There is fierce competition between the arts and STEM, and pop culture never ceases to poke fun at it. The arts and STEM fields alike are seen as prestigious, but the former seems unattainable, while the latter is pushed as the greatest of career prospects.
If they were both treated equally in terms of promoting them to students, perhaps there would be fewer starving artists because the world would find more places to put them, as it has found so many places to put scholars of STEM fields.
Rachel Gil de Gibaja, a junior in the Theatre department’s BFA programme, has been among the many to notice the mold problem in Viertes Haus, a building where many art classes take place. As with everything whose novelty fades, older buildings like this one lose attention as newer buildings like SASC are erected.
Five hundred million dollars are going to the construction of new facilities the next decade, and it’s not unreasonable to wonder if any of that money will go to these art departments. FIU, like much of the world, doesn’t lend itself to art programs nearly as much as it should.
The buildings that house the STEM departments and financial aid office get the most attention, probably because they are seen as more valuable to the University, which starts the cycle over again, leading to people not investing in their skills as artists because there doesn’t outwardly appear to be money going to the arts or being made from them.
So promote the arts more, please. Encourage the quiet painters and writers who sit at museums and gardens to work silently. Support the jewelers and tailors who design clothing and shiny accessories. Embolden the singers and dancers and poets who open themselves up to crowds.
Art is what separates humanity from all other animals. STEM fields are extremely important, but highways and infrastructure will never be quite as moving as a portrait or music or a novel.
Photo taken from Flickr.