lately i’ve been thinking about education and how most of the time, it’s housed within institutions that (in the united states at least) can charge quite a pretty penny for the privilege of learning.
in case you’ve forgotten, i’m an artist and currently, it feels difficult to reach the next in an artists’ career without an MFA.
but MFAs are rarely free and usually will set you back thousands of dollars. Occupy Museums, a collective of artists that emerged within the Occupy Wall Street movement, has a project called Debtfair that surveyed 509 artists in 2017 and found 68% of artists responding had some form of student debt. yikes.
so what to do. i feel that i am at a crossroads in my practice, needing some sort of catalyst to kick me into the next phase of my art making, whatever that may look like. should i apply to graduate school, knowing well that it could send me into significant amount of debt? should i just apply to residencies, try to work less, create my own curriculum for reading, start a new crit group, figure out how to create the structure of an MFA program without the cost?
but beyond the educational structure of the MFA, there’s also the structure of the art market built into the MFA program - collectors, gallerists, curators will peruse graduate shows looking for the next big thing, professors have connections that are difficult to create outside of the institution. and the recognition of your education by your peers, some of whom already went through the MFA process and aren’t likely to give the same credence to a diy program.
i’ve long been playing with the idea of a more diy style of education, most likely inspired by watching Good Will Hunting as a kid…Matt Damon’s character quips something along the lines of “you paid a hundred grand for an education you could have gotten for a buck fifty in late charges from the library.” I resonate with that.
so….what to do.
any suggestions, advice or words of wisdom for an indecisive artist?