What changes do you see in the world around you that is leading to growing demand for a broad arts education?
“We should utopia as hard as we can. Along with a fulfilled humanity we should imagine flying islands, self-constituting coraline neighborhoods, photosynthesizing cars bred from bio-spliced bone-marrow. Big Rock Candy Mountains. Because we’ll never mistake these dreams for blueprints, nor for mere absurdities.”
— China Mieville
We are in an epoch newly dubbed Anthropocene. Named after us to highlight the fact that we, everyone alive, have been called out as both witness and perpetrator. The world has gone sideways…just look at the charts showing changes in earth’s systems (species diversity, population, ocean acidity, CO2 levels, coral reefs, among others). Across the board, they show synchronistic acceleration towards a not-good end. These radical, rapid changes require that we face the reality of this moment, that we understand the scope of the problems, and learn to create the future that we desire. Now.
In a recent marketing slip-up, a well-known bank pitched this: “A ballerina yesterday. An engineer today. Let’s get them ready for tomorrow.” When the arts community called them on it, they pulled the campaign. I have nothing against engineers, but science and technology alone will not bring us into a future that we desire. As Andrew Simonet proclaims in his book Making Your Life as an Artist, “The scientific method and the artistic process are the two most robust problem solving methodologies ever developed. Take either one away, and our world would be unrecognizable.” I agree. It is interesting to see more and more artists working side by side with scientists and researchers, each learning from the other to create deeper, more meaningful and powerful work.
This is the sacred role that artists have in our culture. To find new ways of seeing, thinking and feeling about the present moment, and about the future. Access to a broad arts education would be a step towards cultivating the awesome power of human creativity.
– Andrea Krupp BFA ’84 (Printmaking)