Why do we exist? For some, the answer is to work, to earn money, to succeed. But the truer, more human response should first be to live, to persevere, to experience — then to succeed.
Regardless of an individual student’s interests, our education system upholds three main disciplines: reading and writing and STEM. We only have to peer into our own classes at Masuk to see the truth in this statement — the vast majority of our AP courses are related to these disciplines, and many students choose to take these AP courses over electives to make themselves appealing to colleges.
We are, whether explicitly or implicitly, taught to eschew the arts, and it is time for that to change.
“Art is culture and culture is everywhere,” said art teacher Monika Gagnon. “Since it provides us with imaginative links to parts of ourselves which might otherwise be inaccessible, I truly believe that it is an inspiring force that wants and needs to be shared (and, it can be practiced by anyone). All serious art, art which has content under its surface, is nothing more or less than a reflective impression of the soul who experiences it.”
The arts are incredibly rewarding pursuits for those who find a passion in them. And, they do in fact provide ample career options.
“Being able to support yourself as an artist, and maintain a high-quality life through finances generated from your artwork, can and does happen all the time,” continued Gagnon. “But rarely does it happen overnight. A great outlook, strong sense of priorities as well as patience and an established great support system are helpful. There are many different fields in Art and career paths in Design which are popular and worth pursuing, like Animation — creating moving images for various types of media, including film, television, video games, commercials and websites — Art History, Fashion, Film, Game Design, Graphic Design, Illustration, Interior Design and Photography and full-time Studio Artists.”
Although many make the argument that the arts are not “secure” career options, there are clearly countless paths for people interested in the arts.
In my experience, art classes at Masuk have been a way to express myself and explore my own identity. They have been a way for me to communicate my thoughts in interpretive ways, encouraging individuality in my viewer. They have been an integral part of my coming-of-age experience, and it is incredibly unjust that our education system often does not regard them with as much importance as it does other classes.
If you are interested in the arts, I implore you — take an art class at Masuk, pursue it. You do not have to limit yourself to options deemed “safe” by a narrow-minded education system.