April 19, 2017

The Palette is available to all interested with an e-Subscription


In this issue:

Golden Eagle Art Supply To Open New Store And Studio On North Main Street
How Art Helps Us Create a More Inclusive World and Workplace
Economic Education in the Arts?
Crayola “retires” dandelion yellow to make room for a new color
US COURT RULING COULD BRING MORE SUITS OVER NAZI-LOOTED ART
Welfare for the arts? Bring it on.
STEAM programs unite art and science education
The cost of art: Supplies make fine arts an expensive major

 

 

 

 

Golden Eagle Art Supply To Open New Store And Studio On North Main Street

When artists’ pencils run down, or when they’re looking for inspiration, it’s likely that they’ll visit the Golden Eagle Art Supply store on Newtown Lane in East Hampton. Beginning this spring, they’ll have a second option on North Main Street, as well—Studio 144, a new art store and the product of a new partnership.

Nancy Rowan, the owner of Golden Eagle since 2002, and Michael Weisman, the former owner of the Inside Out home furnishing store, hope to have the new location open by June, after searching for about a year and a half for the right spot. They found out about the property, which is across the street from Nick & Toni’s, after the previous owners, Donal and Jessica Fingleton, closed on it in January. The property contains a barn that Mr. Weisman said they’ll be using for a studio and classes, as well as a main house where they’ll sell art supplies.

Ms. Rowan and Mr. Weisman have been friends for 20 years and said they have a mutual passion for art and sharing it.

“There’s something about being a member of the community and really liking to deal with people,” Mr. Weisman said. “There’s a philosophy to this job: You have to be sincere, you have to like what you’re doing, and I think it’s how businesses like this last.”

“I’m an 11th-generation East Hampton local, and seeing the changes that have happened in my lifetime, it’s important to me that there are still family-owned businesses that people can come to here,” Ms. Rowan said. “This is a fun thing that we’re doing. We’re taking it to the next level with this new location.”

That “next level” includes plans to turn the North Main Street location into somewhat of an art community center. Ms. Rowan said that she and Mr. Weisman hope to start teaching art classes for kids and adults while still selling art supplies.

“There are very little things for kids to do out here,” Mr. Weisman said.

“Especially in the off-season,” Ms. Rowan said. “In our old location on Gingerbread Lane, we had classes there,” she said, referring to the Golden Eagle’s former spot in the village. Ms. Rowan said she was thrilled to host the art classes, especially for kids when she became a mother herself. The Gingerbread Lane location closed in September 2013, before the move to Newtown Lane, where the space is too small to hold classes.

“The only reason that I got into this business 16 years ago was, number one, to be my own boss, and, number two, I loved art supplies,” Ms. Rowan said. “I loved being around art supplies and working with art supplies and working with the people that used them with creative energy. So the next step was to have classes,” she said.

“I can’t explain how many people a day come in and are just starved,” Ms. Rowan said. “They need somewhere to go.”

“Even in this location where we offer no classes, people actually come here and stay all day because of the atmosphere,” Mr. Weisman said. “It’s really a nurturing, creative environment.” 27 east

 

How Art Helps Us Create a More Inclusive World and Workplace

My first official job out of college was as a curator for The Children’s Museum of Rhode Island. Back then, it was a small outfit, nestled in a historic old homestead in Pawtucket. (I had started a couple of galleries on my own by then, the entrepreneurial bug hit me while I was still in college.)
One of the first “big ideas” I had while I was on staff was to commission an exhibit of artwork by kids with AIDS. It was not an easy idea. It was the late 1980s and AIDS was still an automatic death sentence, an invisible grim reaper walking among us. Fear (and homophobia) were ripping the nation apart. By then, some of the most beautiful people I’d ever met had already died of the disease, horribly, often shunned and alone. But kids! What about them? I wanted to make a point.

I enlisted a groundbreaking daycare in Boston that was caring for H.I.V.-positive kids and their siblings during the day. Most of the kids had already lost their parents to the disease and they were living with exhausted grandparents just trying to keep it all together. The daycare was a place they could feel normal for a while, free from judging eyes. A small grant allowed me buy some art supplies, and we set on a theme: My Favorite Things. After I picked up the artwork and started laying out the exhibit, the museum’s executive director, Janice O’Donnell, made a brilliant suggestion. “Hey, let’s not tell anyone which kids have AIDS and which ones don’t,” she said. If our goal was to humanize kids with AIDS, why label them? And sure enough, Janice was right. When families came to see the show, they just saw pictures of puppies and chess sets, basketballs and teddy bears, plates of spaghetti and well-worn sneakers. Kids with AIDS were kids first. We asked visitors to sketch their own favorite things on index cards which we posted. For a brief time, everyone was united in delight rather than separated by a retrovirus.

It was a good, early lesson for me: What (or who) you leave out should always be a conscious choice.

Curation of any kind is an exercise in strategic exclusion. It’s also the nature of business, whether it’s a start-up clinging to an outdated notion of culture fit, or a marketer choosing a spokesperson and tagline, there’s always a winnowing toward a final goal. Questioning our assumptions often makes for a better final product. But under stress and deadlines, we tend to default to our old worldview.

Art has a real role to play in all of this. It’s where we can see other lives and other stories play out, with little at risk except some time and maybe some feels. Unless it changes your mind. It’s why Alvin Ailey mattered back in the day, and why Moonlight, Fresh Off The Boat and Marvel Comics matter now.

And by supporting art—through grant-making, underwriting, producing, and ticket-buying—we make a business case that assures that people who have been excluded from making (or seeing) art get the platform they deserve.

There's also the question of government support. Planned cuts to the NEA budget proposed by the Trump administration would disproportionately impact already marginalized audiences and artists. Though the NEA costs the taxpayers just 46 cents per year (.004 % of the overall budget), they provide arts programming in all 50 states. And, some 40% of NEA-supported activities take place in high-poverty areas, 36 percent of its grants support organizations working with disadvantaged populations and 33 percent serve low-income audiences.

I interviewed Wynton Marsalis for Fortune years ago, and he shared this piece of advice for people who didn’t quite know how they felt about new jazz forms, but it works for all the arts. “You have to bring yourself to it,” he said. “Jazz does not come to you. It’s not there for you. It’s you who must bring something to jazz.” The act of bringing yourself to something new is an act of courage, sure. But in this case, you always get more than you give. FORTUNE

 

Editor’s Note: This article is in response to an article that appeared in the April 5, 2017 edition of The Palette from the Foundation for Economic Education titled Government Funding Cheapens the Arts.

Economic Education in the Arts?

Our NAMTA Palette gave us the argument that will soon be put forward in the debate for Federal funding of the arts. The piece, “Government Funding Cheapens the Art” written by the Foundation for Economic Education is similar to arguments shared by other organizations, including the Cato Institute, suggesting the elimination of the NEA (152M), NEH (155M), Public Broadcasting (485M) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (231M) amongst the 62 agencies and programs suggested for cuts in the new proposed budget.

The view of the FEE is that the arts don’t require any government funding and that the NEA is cheating tax payers. Their viewpoint is that if a product is marketable, then it can be successfully produced and supported without any funds other than from a willing buyer to a willing seller. The free market should determine what is produced and what is not. Government and potentially any other private donation to the arts and/or to artists is simply taking that resource away from something else they could have paid for.

We could give so many other reasons to support the arts, starting with what is the most important, but often most trivialized in this debate – the value of the arts to inspire us, to lift us up, to understand the power of the human potential. But let’s dismiss this as ‘trivial’ in this argument. Let’s also dismiss the proven value of the arts in education to elevate student performance, to allow for improved socialization, to create the employees of the future that businesses crave who are creative, innovative and problem solvers. Let’s dismiss the value of the arts to heal, to work with the elderly, the infirmed, to assist our veterans over the trauma of their service. Let’s dismiss any of the arguments that have any social context at all and simply make this about dollars and cents.

Here’s the top line numbers from the 2010 Arts & Economic Prosperity study. The creative industries have created over 4 million jobs. The estimated revenue to local governments is over 6 billion dollars. The estimated revenue to state governments is over 6.5 billion dollars. The estimated federal income tax revenue collected from the arts and participation in the arts is over 9.5 billion dollars. Total revenue to government collected from the arts community is 22 billion dollars. Into the general economy, the non-profit arts have accounted for over $61 billion dollars. The non-profit arts are employers, producers, consumers and key promotors of their communities and cities and a significant driver of economic development and tourism. 

Audiences attending arts events pump in additional monies for local businesses – restaurants, parking garages, hotels and retail stores. On a national level these audiences provide $71 billion dollars of added revenue for their local communities. Supporting the arts is an incredibly sound investment. Finally, the “Bureau of Economic Analysis calculated that the arts and culture sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product at 4.2%, which amounts to an impressive $729 billion”. This is a contribution greater to the economy than tourism.

It is estimated that the NEA monies provided to groups in every congressional district across this country is able to leverage another 9 dollars in private monies. Organizations receiving the prestigious NEA award are able to use this to go to other contributors for support. Because of the NEA, areas of the country which were arts deserts are now being served. Through NEA support, over 20 million people were able to attend NEA supported events. Over 300 million people were able to view supported events via TV, Cable and Radio. The NEA budget, which is $148 million, equates to .47 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. This equates to .004% of our Federal budget. I’d suggest that the NEA’s monies, for all its potential faults, are quite well spent with an incredible ROI compared to any other government program. http://www.americansforthearts.org/by-program/reports-and-data/research-studies-publications/americans-for-the-arts-publications/research-reports

As an industry that is involved first-hand in the arts, which depends upon artists and the arts community for its livelihood, we absolutely understand the value of the arts in all of its contexts and not simply an economic one. I can’t think of one retailer, distributor, manufacturer or publisher who has not been asked to give support to the amazing artists in our communities. We know personally the precarious situation many of our arts organizations work in. It is vital that as an industry we continue to advocate for greater support for the arts. Write to your local Legislator and add your support for the continued funding of our Federal Art Agencies. Take a stand on the “CREATE Act” put forward by Senator Udall to allow artists many of the same opportunities that small entrepreneurs already enjoy. https://www.tomudall.senate.gov/news/press-releases/udall-introduces-create-act-to-support-arts-businesses-jobs-in-the-creative-economy

This is not a time to sit by the sidelines.

Mark Golden

Golden Artist Colors, Inc.

 

Crayola “retires” dandelion yellow to make room for a new color

Crayola is taking a page from Marie Kondo.

Today, the 132-year old art supplies company announced that it’s “retiring” its dandelion yellow shade to make room for a new color. Like the KonMari purge method, Crayola is properly feting the yellow color stick with a grand send off in Times Square in New York City before kicking it out of its color boxes. They even created a one-minute animation featuring a crayon stick named Dandy pondering his retirement options.

Crayola’s publicity stunt, reminiscent of Pantone‘s highly-anticipated “Color of the Year” announcement, has saddened some crayon hoarders sentimental for the smell of art supplies from their childhood. Many suggested eliminating the white crayon, which barely registers on white paper, while others suggested jettisoning the orange, referring to president Donald Trump’s mysterious tangerine look. But why retire a color at all?

It’s all a matter of crayon box real estate. Since 1998, Crayola has capped its number of basic colors in circulation to 120 because they box crayons in multiples of eight—8, 16, 24, 48, 64, 96, and 120 packs. (For special edition boxes, Crayola produces limited colors like metallic and glitter crayons, which are not included in the count.) They have retired a total of 50 colors.

“Dandelion is both bright and light, like all shades of yellow are, but it seems to have a deeper cast to it than other shades of yellow in Crayola’s line-up,” noted Stella Paul, author of Chromaphilia: The Story of Color in Art. “In art, any yellow will generally call attention to itself—catching your eye because of its resolute lightness on a tonal scale of light to dark. Many great artists have brilliantly exploited that attribute of the color yellow, including Giotto, Turner, and Gauguin,” she explains.

Crayola is formulating a new yet-to-be-named color to take dandelion’s spot in the box and will reveal it in May. Head of marketing Melanie Bolden hinted that it will be a shade of blue. QUARTZ

 

US COURT RULING COULD BRING MORE SUITS OVER NAZI-LOOTED ART

WASHINGTON, DC: The heirs of Nazi-era Jewish art dealers have spent nearly a decade trying to persuade German officials to return a collection of medieval relics valued at more than $250 million.

But they didn't make much headway until they filed a lawsuit in an American court.

The relatives won a round last week when a federal judge ruled that Germany can be sued in the United States over claims the so-called Guelph Treasure was sold under duress in 1935.

It's the first time a court has required Germany to defend itself in the U.S. against charges of looted Nazi art, and experts say it could encourage other descendants of people who suffered during the Holocaust to pursue claims in court.

The case also is among the first affected by a law passed in Congress last year that makes it easier for heirs of victims of Nazi Germany to sue over confiscated art.

"It open all kinds of other claims based on forced sales in Nazi Germany to jurisdiction in U.S. courts if the facts support it," said Nicholas O'Donnell, an attorney representing the heirs.

The collection includes gold crosses studded with gems, ornate silverwork and other relics that once belonged to Prussian aristocrats. The heirs of the art dealers — Jed Leiber, Gerald Stiebel, and Alan Philipp — say their relatives were forced to sell the relics in a coerced transaction for a fraction of its market value.

The consortium of dealers from Frankfurt had purchased the collection in 1929 from the Duke of Brunswick. They had managed to sell about half of the pieces to museums and collectors, but the remaining works were sold in 1935 to the state of Prussia, which at the time was governed by Nazi leader Hermann Goering.

Following the sale, Goering presented the works as a gift to Adolf Hitler, according to court documents. The collection has been on display in Berlin since the early 1960s and is considered the largest collection of German church treasure in public hands.

German officials claim the sale was voluntary and say the low price was a product of the Great Depression and the collapse of Germany's market for art. In 2014, a special German commission set up to review disputed restitution cases concluded it was not a forced sale due to persecution and recommended the collection stay at the Berlin museum.

Two of the dealers fled Germany following the sale of the Guelph Treasure. The other died there, although his children managed to get out.

The heirs decided to sue Germany and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in U.S. court a year later. Germany tried to dismiss the case under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which exempts foreign states from being sued in the U.S. It makes an exception for property taken in violation of international law.

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in the District of Columbia said the heirs could argue that the sale was a "part of the genocide of the Jewish people during the Holocaust and, accordingly, violated international law."

The ruling will encourage other families to pursue stolen art cases in American courts, said Jonathan Petropoulos, a history professor at Claremont McKenna College who specializes in Nazi art restitution.

"The German system for civil litigation presents so many obstacles to claimants," Petropoulos said. "Victims and heirs deserve their day in court in front of an impartial judge."

Germany can appeal the ruling. Attorney Jonathan Freiman said German officials are reviewing their options.

"This is a dispute that was already resolved on the merits in Germany, and it doesn't belong in a U.S. court," Freiman said.

Thousands of works of art plundered by the Nazis have been returned to their rightful owners or families over the years from Germany and other countries. The Limbach Commission in Germany was formed in 2003 to consider restitution in contested cases where opposing parties can't reach an agreement. But it has been criticized for moving too slowly.

The German government announced several reforms last year intended to improve the process. WSB Radio

 

Welfare for the arts? Bring it on.

FEDERAL FUNDING for the arts has long been controversial. President Trump’s recent proposal to abolish the National Endowment for the Arts is yet another round in this long-running ideological fight. Budgets are always tight, after all, and the arts can seem suspect. “The NEA Is Welfare for Cultural Elitists,” the conservative Heritage Foundation published in a report 20 years ago, and its view hasn’t changed since then.

But if arts funding is simply welfare, why are so many places in both red and blue states going to creative lengths to keep the money flowing?

Consider the following sources of revenue from states, counties, and cities:

■ state income tax check-offs for the arts in California, Kansas, and Virginia

■ hotel-motel occupancy taxes in New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas

■ gaming revenues in Colorado, Iowa, and West Virginia

■ hunting and fishing fees in Arkansas

■ a tourism tax in South Dakota

■ annual corporate filing fees in Arizona

■ a cigarette tax in Cuyahoga County, Ohio

■ a sales tax in Minnesota, Denver, and Salt Lake City

■ a rental car tax in Mecklenburg County, N.C.

■ a direct arts tax in Portland, Ore.

■ a special arts and entertainment district tax incentives in cities in Maryland and Rhode Island

■ custom arts license plates in California, Kansas, and Tennessee

■ the option to pay one’s estate tax with works of art in Maine

The hard truth is: The kind of vibrant arts scene that cities and states are so eager to cultivate always requires support from somewhere. Successful artists are always diligent about seeking private funds; beyond what they earn from selling their work, they teach lessons, work second jobs, and seek grants from philanthropists.

If communities want a richer arts environment than what those individual efforts support, they need to help artists secure predictable streams of money.

Back in the 1970s, the elected officials in Tampa, Fla., and Huntsville, Ala., devised a way of turning vice into good deeds. Every few months, it was decided, the day’s proceeds from Tampa’s well-attended dog- and horse-racing tracks would go toward the city’s arts and to some other charities. In Huntsville, 10 percent of the city’s liquor tax was directed in that same direction. It was politically and economically easier to let the citizenry (and tourists) pay directly for cultural services, if somewhat indirectly.

Kansas and Massachusetts both pay for the arts through lottery revenues. About $200,000 went to the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission in 2014. In Massachusetts, the lottery funds $14 million of the $16 million budget of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Commonwealth’s principal funding agency for the arts. (The National Endowment for the Arts provides another $915,000, with some other state and private sources making up the rest.) So next time you stop by a convenience store and see someone buying a state lottery ticket, realize that that purchase also underwrites a ticket to the philharmonic.

How we fund the arts matters. A portion of San Francisco’s 14 percent hotel-motel occupancy tax funds the city’s Grants for the Arts program to the tune of $11.3 million in fiscal 2017-18, is “a highly equitable form of arts support in that it returns to the arts money that came to the city through the motels and hotels in the form of tourism,” according to Kary Schulman, director of Grants for the Arts. Presumably, some of those tourists came to San Francisco for arts and cultural activities. The tourism tax in South Dakota, which provides the entire funding for the state’s arts agency budget, also has a similar relevance.

It isn’t clear that these revenue sources have filled the gap as government spending on the arts has declined over the years. The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies reported that in fiscal 2017, the aggregate arts agency budgets of the nation’s 50 states and territories rose 2.6 percent to $362 million over the previous year, although still well below the fiscal 2001 aggregate of $450 million, which was the all-time high.

At a more basic level though, we might ask: Why do we — or should we — support the nonprofit sector of the arts world through public assistance? Perhaps, it is just welfare for cultural elitists, or maybe the arts offer an intangible public good. To my thinking, governments are created to maintain and enhance our quality of life. That’s the basis on which they should be judged. And, increasingly, governments across the country are seeing the benefits of funding more than just roads and bridges — even if Congress has other priorities. Boston Globe

 

STEAM programs unite art and science education
LSC-University Park to open new art and science buildings

Demand for higher education instruction in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, may be surging because of the earning potential of those professions. However, local educational institutions are devoting more resources to arts programs—part of a growing STEAM curriculum—that encourage creative innovation.

Lone Star College-University Park is planning to open new instructional buildings to address the demand for science and art instruction, a result of the college system’s $485 million bond referendum that voters approved in 2014. The Center for Science and Innovation will open this fall, and an arts building will open on the campus in 2019.

At the secondary school level, Spring and Klein ISDs have adopted programs and tools that integrate arts and science instruction, such as KISD’s STEAM Express mobile learning center and SISD’s new Career Pathways program, which provide a range of options for students to get early experience in competitive fields.

“I think one of the reasons STEAM has gained much popularity over the last few years is because—for many educators—it has been almost an ‘Aha’ moment to realize that many of the projects labeled as STEM have always included components of artistic design,” said Mariam Manuel, executive director of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp and an instructional assistant professor at the University of Houston.

Arts Expansion
Offering both art and STEM programs helps to prepare students for an increasingly competitive job market, according to instructors and administrators at LSC-University Park.

Developing the “soft” skills that are associated with the arts helps students excel in writing, creativity, presentation and building interpersonal relationships, Assistant Professor of Business Misty Sabol said.

“The ability to have empathy and the ability to develop relationships is the line in the sand between people who are sustainably successful and people who stagnate in their positions,” Sabol said.

LSC-University Park President Shah Ardalan said arts programs at the campus will expand dramatically in 2019, when the $23.7 million, 40,000-square-foot instructional arts building opens.

The arts building will include classroom space for visual art, music and theater as well as an auditorium that will seat 400 people.

The campus’s art department has grown each year since the campus opened in 2012, including expanding recent offerings in studio- and performance-based classes and introducing a piano lab that uses Apple software, Arts Department Chairwoman Kari Breitigam said. Programs at the new facility will be directed at building a foundation for students in traditional visual arts, music and drama.

“We’re working to create paths that allow a student to smoothly transition from the [arts programs] here into a four-year university,” Breitigam said.

Meanwhile, the college’s $15.4 million Center for Science and Innovation is scheduled to open this fall. The three-story, 50,000-square-foot building will feature 12 science labs, an astronomy observation deck, computer labs and a geology rock wall.

The campus also opened its Innovation Room in February under Sabol’s direction, presenting students with a space in which they can explore art, science and the areas in which the two fields overlap, Sabol said.

In its first year, the room—which cost about $100,000 to equip, using money from grants and the college’s annual budget—was fitted with 3-D scanning and printing technology, virtual reality equipment and other tools to facilitate experimentation in both technical and artistic fields.

“We’re an image graphics based society,” Breitigam said. “We need to hire people with visual skills.”

From STEM to STEAM
Carolyn Nichol, director of the Rice University Office of STEM Engagement, said the public has a misconception that STEM fields prioritize efficiency and utility over aesthetics.

“In fact, STEM is incredibly creative,” Nichol said. “STEM professionals must innovate newly designed solutions to problems and novel models to explain observations of our world. The arts lift students from these ruts into freer modes of thought.”

A 2015 study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce examined the median annual wages of workers with college degrees between the ages of 25 and 59. The college majors most associated with high salaries are all STEM fields—such as chemical and petroleum engineering—which each command a mean annual wage above $100,000, according to the report.

In contrast, the median salary for arts majors with a bachelor’s degree, on average, was $49,000.

“Arts education can deepen someone’s understanding of the world and how things are made,” Nichol said. “Someone with a visual arts degree probably knows how to design creative products.”

Architecture, computer science, graphic design and animation are among the fields where a balance of arts and science experience is needed, Manuel said.

Educators said a study of the arts is also beneficial in preparing presentations, solving problems, writing resumes and interpersonal skills.

“Maybe the science will get them the job, but the art is what will let them keep the job,” Ardalan said.

Starting in high school
KISD Chief Learning Officer Jenny McGown said student interest in arts programs at the district has grown dramatically in recent years amid the national focus on STEM programs.

“In the last two years, our projected enrollment growth at the high school level was 351 students, but fine arts course requests increased by 1,215,” McGown said. “Students see the value in the arts whether they aspire to pursue a career in the arts, a STEAM-related field or something completely disassociated with the arts.”

The district’s STEAM Express mobile classroom was introduced in 2014 to provide interactive technological tools in science and art fields outside the regular classroom. The district also offers career and technical education courses including animation, computer-aided design and forensic science, McGown said.

Students who pursue STEAM disciplines in high school often go on to continue their studies in those fields in college. KISD students are heavily recruited by the Savannah College of Art and Design as a result of the experience they gain in high school, leading to careers in fields like video game design and development, McGown said.

SISD launched a program in the 2016-17 school year called Career Pathways that allows students to begin building a portfolio of classes—including Advanced Placement classes—in preparation for their college majors. SISD students can choose to focus on arts fields such as animation, fashion design and graphic design, as well as technical fields such as environmental science, firefighter science and sports medicine.

Although the district has not implemented a STEAM curriculum, administrators said the development of the program will include more offerings in both science and the arts.

“Future plans include redesigning the curriculum and instruction at Roberson Middle School for next school year to include three academies: Medical Math, Medical Science and Art Therapy,” said Cynthia Williams, director of career and technical education for SISD.

Educators said students who are currently in high school may be learning technology that will change before they enter the job market.

“In five years, there will be jobs and careers we didn’t think about five years before,” said Virginia Rangel, an assistant professor with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Houston. “This problem-based learning can give kids a leg up, because if you have that flexible thinking—the benefit of a liberal arts education—you can adapt.” Community Impact Newspaper

The cost of art: Supplies make fine arts an expensive major

When Abby Hermosilla, a senior art history major, takes time to analyze a piece of work, she’s careful with it. She studies the formal elements of the composition and the fine details. What colors were used? What do the brush strokes look like? Are they precise or relaxed?

She studies every corner of the painting, even the context of the space the art is put in, before she figures out what the artist wanted to say with the piece. It’s standard practice for her and a whole lot of others to study art this way.

However, a lot of times the analysis stops there, as often times it goes deeper than that. How much did the materials cost the artist? Did they have to miss a meal to make this?

For art students, questions of finances constantly linger when making projects. Students like those of the Kent State University Art Club know all too well the obstacles that artists face to create the art on display in many of the halls at Kent State.

“A lot of students here can pay for their supplies all at once and they can buy them cheap as well,” said Caitlen Patrick, a senior studio arts major and president of the Art Club. “For me, it’s … a lot of constant struggle, instead of an over and done with thing.”

The School of Art was founded in 1910, not long after Kent State was established. It offers a total of three degrees that focus on a range of fine arts, including ceramics, painting, drawing, glass, print media, photography, sculpture, textile and art history. There are currently 2,369 students enrolled under the school.

An art student’s cost of art supplies generally depends on the concentration. Each major requires something different when it comes to supplies.

“It’s hard because you want your projects to be the best they can be,” Patrick said. “But if you can’t afford the best, a lot of times your project will reflect that.”

On top of the art supplies that students need to buy for their projects, they also have required materials they need to get when they enroll at the school. This list includes paint, high-quality paper for drawing and printmaking and tools like charcoal and fine point pencils.

“You’re always required to buy supplies for intro classes, which is really tough because a lot of those classes you never use again,” said Larry Staats, a senior studio arts major and vice president of the Art Club. “I have all of these supplies that I never use … but you have to buy them at the start.”

The most controversial required material among students is a brand new iPad.

“We use the iPad for one class, which we could have easily used the computers that the school has because we weren’t doing anything too hard (with it),” said Benjamin Gfell, a junior studio arts major. “It’s obviously a useful thing, I just don’t really have a use for it in my major.”

Despite the sometimes costly supply decisions that art students have to face, the School of Art encourages them to stay on course, ensuring that it’s all part of the process.

“Buying art supplies is an investment in one’s creative work and development,” said Michael Loderstedt, interim director of the School of Art, “similar to buying an instrument as a musician or taking time away from work to write a novel.”

Some other supplies that students need to buy are already supplied by the school, like respirator masks and hot glue guns.

“We bought a lot of things that they have a lot of at the school,” Gfell said. “It is good to have that extra item, but I feel like a good percentage of the classes I’ve been in we could have just used what the school has.”

The School of Art does provide many of the supplies that students need to use when working, including ink cartridges used for printing, kilns and heavier machinery needed to construct pieces.

Many of the things provided by the facilities at the new art building are possible because of the class fees and expenses paid before the semester starts.

“We aren’t even allowed to use paper towels in the building if we’re using them in class,” said Natalie Frank, a junior art education major and secretary of the Art Club, in reference to her printmaking class this semester. “Because that comes out of their budget, it’s not something we paid for.”

Some students studying in the School of Art have pursued outside jobs to fund their pieces.

“I’m on campus from 9 (a.m.) to midnight every day,” Staats said. “That includes being at my job. I’m here more than I am at my own apartment.”

Some students have even resorted to scrapping past projects, recycling their components to make new assignments. This makes it difficult to build a portfolio — something essential for landing a job in the creative career.

“I wish I could just buy full sheets of plywood whenever I need them,” Staats said. “Multiple times this semester, I’ve had these ideas for big complicated pieces, but I don’t have the money for that.”

With many obstacles set for students, the school does provide help for them in a few different ways.

“The School of Art has many art scholarships available to help students with their supply costs,” Loderstedt said. “Art students do have expenses ... that other majors do not. Keep in mind that students keep and, on occasion, sell their work also.”

The School of Art offers an outlet on campus called the ARTshop that features works made by students that can be sold to the general public.

Despite the many ways for students to ease their financial burden throughout the school year, there is still a general frustration that a lot of times they have to pay out of pocket for their supplies.

“It makes me timid about my artistic process because there are times when I can’t spend the money to make something,” Frank said. “You have to be so careful with your art spending because you have to live too.” kentwired.com