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school is way cool

updated mon 28 may 01


vince pitelka on sun 27 may 01

> i now have the opportunity to go to school, and i'm uncertain whether i
> want to persue a degree in art, because i'm afraid it will disrupt my
> studio work, which is just beginning to receive public recognition.
> i'm leaning toward school for the degree and the knowledge, but i am
> very interested in pros and cons from the group.

Ken -
I can understand your hesitation, with your studio work starting to take
off, but I would recommend you go ahead with the school option now. You
will never regret doing it, and you would almost certainly regret missing
the opportunity. The tools and personal baggage which have allowed you to
find fulfillment and success in your work will only be enhanced in school,
as long as you find a program appropriate for you. Do not select a program
because it is close or because you like the work that the faculty does.
Investigate it thoroughly, and make absolutely sure that it is appropriate
for the direction you want to go with your work, and that the faculty will
be supportive of that direction.

Do not hesitate to take chances and try completely new things. When someone
tells you that something should be done a certain way, give their way a good
shot, and if it does not work for you, then go back to a know way or find
your own new way. University study is an opportunity to expose yourself to
an incredible amount of opportunity, knowledge, and experience in a short
period of time. If you make the most of it, it will energize your work and
your life. The primary purpose of university study is life enrichment.
The secondary purpose is career training.

Just remember to be proactive and autonomous in your education - remain in
control of your own destiny. Pursue learning aggressively, and do not ever
settle for mediocrity or apathy on the part of faculty or staff.

Snail, whose voice and opinions I respect, said in response to your post
that a BFA degree was next to worthless. I do not really think he meant
that. The important thing is of course the study and the experience, rather
than the degree itself. But as a symbol of that study and experience, a BFA
degree is priceless, and will change your life in ways you cannot imagine.
A BFA degree is an immediate acknowledgement that you have surmounted the
challenges involved, and having the degree will be useful in many ways. And
of course if you decide to go on to graduate school then the degree is
essential. At any rate, for so many reasons it makes good sense to go for
the degree.
Good luck with these difficult choices,
- Vince

Vince Pitelka
Appalachian Center for Crafts
Tennessee Technological University
1560 Craft Center Drive, Smithville TN 37166
Home -
Work -
615/597-6801 ext. 111, fax 615/597-6803