So, why even go to graduate school? This is a question that I seriously contemplated before embarking upon my journey at Columbia. I had completed my undergraduate studies many years ago. I had been creating and exhibiting my visual art since then. I still had undergraduate student loan debt. Let’s be practical about this—was there a damn good reason to incur more debt and earn another ART degree?
Surely, a master’s degree would qualify me to teach at the college level. But would that be my sole purpose for obtaining this degree?
I finally decided, after about 4 years of making up my mind, that practicality is overrated.
Life is an experience. I want to have as rich an experience as I can. It would be easy for me to continue to do the things that I know how to do, that I’ve been doing for decades, the things that come easily to me—visual art, namely painting and drawing. But what about expansion, what about exploring boundaries, what about being in a circle of creative peers and learning from other creative professionals? What is to be said for that?
I have found the graduate school environment at Columbia in the Interdisciplinary Arts Department to be incredibly supportive. The faculty and students meet in an atmosphere of engaging each other in the sharing of their personal experiences and creative expertise. We all learn from each other and support each other in stepping into the unknown, the uncomfortable, the fear-inducing space of expansion. And that is the space in which we all become better artists. If you are committed to your art, follow your muse…