search  current discussion  categories  teaching 

is art and mfa's for the rich only?

updated sun 30 oct 05


clennell on sat 29 oct 05

Sour Cherry Pottery

> "You want to make great pots take the
> money that you would spend on an MFA and put it into kiln, studio etc.
> You
> want to teach go get an MFA."
> Well, I beg to differ. The MFA is NOT a teaching degree, although many
> people say this. It's true that it's the credential university people
> ask for in hiring someone for teaching other people who want to learn
> about working as an artist, but it's NOT a teaching degree. A Masters in
> Art Education is a teaching degree.
> The MFA is about making one's personal work in a way that communicates
> to an external audience. This sounds deceptively simple, but it's not.
> It's learning about learning, and a tool for the rest of your art life.

Dear Linda:
I am getting the feeling that art is a luxury of the well to do. I pride
myself in being well connected to the studio potters of North America. i
have 6 summer jobs lined up for my second year ceramic students working for
studio potters. Bet, I could place one or two in the US too.
When I mentioned this to my 17 students here is a sample of the answers and
this is straight goods, no con.
I am going to watch soccer matches in Germany this summer, I am going to
travel Japan this summer to look at pots, I am going to India to visit my
father this summer, my family always summers in Spain, I am going on a
Buddhist retreat with my father the physcian, our family has a cottage in
Muskoka that is paradise for the summer. that is 6 of my 17 students. the
ones that work at the college coffee shop or the liquor store can't go
either because they need their jobs during the school year to pay their way.
this is a 3 year diploma programme (albeit one of the highest recognized
programmes in Canada and the second biggest art school in North America).
So for this middle class stiff if one of my kids said I'm going to spend 3
years discovering my art I'd be taken aback. Tell me there is a teaching job
at the end of the rainbow and I'm all excited.
I also think it laughable that an art student needs their teacher to talk to
them about their work once a week. Can you make changes in your work and
show the results and talk about them every week? I've seen it at Sheridan. A
teary eyed student saying "Bruce, you didn't talk to me this week!"
How will that person survive when graduation happens and no one talks to
them about their work every week?
A quote from my recommended text- Art and Fear "For art students , losing
the destination for the work goes by another name: GRADUATION. Ask any
student: For how many before them was the Graduate Show the Terminal show?
When "The Critique" is the only validated destination for work made during
the first half-decade of an artist's productive life, small wonder that
attrition rates spiral when that path stops".
I guess i keep believing we are capable of some critical self evaluation and
don't need to pay for 3 years of therapy.
Good yacking at ya.
P.S Best of pots at AKAR
Tony and Sheila Clennell
Sour Cherry Pottery
4545 King Street
Beamsville, Ontario