A Message from Dean Nancy M. Stuart
We begin making a case for the value of studying art as viable career preparation when our students begin their studies. We have documented how Fortune 500 companies were hiring artists to work side by side with engineers and how the MFA was being considered the new MBA by many companies. We talk about how art students learn innovation, problem solving, and other transferable job skills. We showed you profiles of our alumni who are successful in their own business, in design firms, in the fashion industry, the museum world, and as independent artists.
It’s all true, but I want to highlight another aspect of a creative career and a creative life.
On a recent Sunday, I was listening to Dr. Atul Gawande on the local NPR station. He is a medical doctor and author of several books. He quoted poet Annie Dillard saying “how we spend our days is how we spend our lives,” and he asked his listeners to consider “What a good day looks like?” He was relating how living and doing things that matter lead to health and well-being. He said that “well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive.”
I know from my own experience in photography that the motivation to express oneself, to communicate experiences in such a way that others may know who we are, is a tool for achieving psychological integration and emotional well-being.
Author and alternative medicine advocate Deepak Chopra observed that “the single most important factor for health and well-being is that we make something creative from our existence.” He continues to state that “the arts play an important role in our ability to think, problem solve and remember.”
Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston, said in her recent book Braving the Wilderness: the Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, “We want to be part of something larger than us, it has to be real, true belonging only happens when we present our authentic imperfect selves to the world.”
Parents probably know from a few late-night phone calls that their son or daughter has been presenting their authentic and imperfect selves to their faculty and classmates for four years now. They have had to brave uncertainty and criticism during weekly verbal critiques of their work and, I contend, they have learned how to trust others and themselves in the process.
Author Toni Morrison gave a commencement address at Sarah Lawrence College in 1988; her conclusion is as true today as then: “the function of [contemporary] education must be to produce humane human beings.”
So, what does a good day look like to you? Celebrating your commencement with family and friends is a “pretty good day” but you can also look forward to sharing your authentic self with the world through your art. You are part of something that doesn’t require you to change who you are–it only requires you to be who you are.
Cleats by Corey Pane '11
Whether you design apps or ball gowns, curate galleries or edit video, the critical thinking skills you gain at the Hartford Art School prepare you for a fulfilling career that’s just as unique and tailored as you are.
You will learn more than how to work with clients, how to market yourself, and how to craft a resumé. You will learn how to lead teams and carry out a project from start to finish.
The spaces you visit, the chairs you sit on, the places you shop–all of these experiences are thought about and designed by artists.
Artists flourish in careers that demand vision and attention to detail. Companies like Starbucks, West Elm, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie hire artists to produce site-specific, localized artworks for their merchandising and marketing needs.
Your creative solutions to modern problems make you an essential part of today’s workforce, and we can’t wait to help you along your path.