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viewpoint

Keep making art

| Wednesday, November 18, 2015

This is a letter to the freshman who is considering an art major. This is a letter to the senior who has spent four years studying music and is now starting to worry their parents were right in that they will never get a job. This is a letter to myself, a junior theatre major who just wants to be taken seriously. Most importantly, this is a letter to everyone else.

Dear student artist,

It’s hard, I know. It’s hard to stay up all night finishing a painting. It’s hard to memorize lines and everything else you need for class. It’s hard when you start to believe everyone who says you won’t find a job, you won’t make a difference, you aren’t as smart as everyone else. But please: Keep. Making. Art.

Many people look at the student artist and think they must walk around with their head in the clouds. But get to know an artist and you’ll know we are some of the most grounded people around. Student artists are always juggling deadlines, but your stress is not always taken seriously. You will pour your hearts into your work, only to be ripped apart by your professors and peers, but just know it only makes you stronger. Instead of giving up, keep making art.

If you love something enough to pursue it wholeheartedly, anything is possible. The best part about a career in the arts is that you can often create it yourself. We have all been asked the dreaded question, “A degree in the arts? What are you going to do with that?” Sometimes this is asked out of genuine curiosity, but sometimes it’s asked pretentiously. Don’t be afraid to answer honestly. If that person judges you because your honest answer is “I don’t know,” screw them. You just keep making art.

Artists are the ones who shape our culture because they are the ones who capture it in a photo, a film or play. Art is a mirror for our society. It challenges us and, when done really well, changes us. We need artists. We need you to make us laugh and cry and hold each other a little tighter. We need you tell us hard truths about ourselves through stories. We need you to write music we can fall in love to. We need you to keep making art.

And so, student artist, just know that you are loved. Your work is valued even if you don’t realize it. Not everyone will understand or appreciate what you do, but at the end of the day, you get to do what you love. As you move forward, remember that you are a student and that every artist who has impacted you began where you are today. So keep your head up, know your audience and for the love of God, keep making art.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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