Arts graduates find jobs, satisfaction

by Dan Berrett, Inside Higher Education

Conventional wisdom has long held that pursuing a career in the arts is a likely ticket to a life of perennial unhappiness, hunger and unemployment. But the opposite appears to be true — graduates of arts programs are likely to find jobs and satisfaction, even if they won’t necessarily get wealthy in the process — according to a new national survey of more than 13,000 alumni of 154 different arts programs.

“Arts graduates are finding ways to put together careers and be employed — and many of them are satisfied with their work,” said Steven J. Tepper, associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, assistant professor in the department of sociology at Vanderbilt University and senior scholar of the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP).The results of the survey, which are being released today, may offer some measure of succor to parents who are anxious about their children’s artistic aspirations. And, while the survey may help arts programs defend against accusations that they produce an oversupply of soon-to-be-discouraged artists, they also suggest areas — particularly in the area of career preparation — in which these programs can improve.

The results reflect the responses of 13,581 alumni of 154 arts colleges and conservatories; arts schools and departments within broader colleges and universities; and arts high schools. They constitute the largest dataset gathered about the lives and careers of arts graduates, according to George Kuh, professor emeritus at Indiana and SNAAP project director (SNAAP is based at the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research at the School of Education). Those surveyed include graduates from fine arts, theater, dance, music, creative writing, media arts, film, design and architecture programs between 2005 and 2009, as well as those who graduated in 2000, 1995 and 1990.

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Math is the poetry of the mind

by erinvrAdd a comment

binary heart

What, after all, is mathematics but the poetry of the mind, and what is poetry but the mathematics of the heart?
–American mathematician David Eugene Smith

If at first glance poetry and math seem as far apart as data and doughnuts, a closer look reveals a strong connection. Especially in more traditional poetry, mathematical concepts influence the structure of a poem: its shape, the lengths of its lines and stanzas, and its patterns of rhythm and rhyme.

What would a Shakespearean sonnet be, for example, without its rhyme scheme (a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g) and its use of iambic pentameter? (An iamb is a unit of two syllables, with the accent on the second syllable; the pentameter tells you there are five of those units per line.)

Iambic Pentameter

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Creativity is essential now more than ever

Chris Staley
May 9, 2011 8:25am EDT

Which is more important: art or science? Most people would say science. In answering this question I can’t help but think of the word Sputnik, and my grandfather James Killian.

In 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite, it extended the Cold War into space and altered the trajectory of my life. At that time my grandfather was the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and shortly after Sputnik was launched he was chosen by President Dwight Eisenhower to be the first full-time scientific adviser to the president. In my mind, my grandfather became “Mr. Sputnik.”

What most people did not know about this leader of science was that he also was an artist. He was an active painter and sculptor. I have vivid memories from my youth of walking around his cluttered studio above the garage and seeing works of art in progress. Equally indelible are comments he made about art’s ability to inspire us all to learn.

When school boards and college administrators are faced with budgetary cutbacks, art classes are often the first to be deemed expendable. However, in these times of accelerating change we need art in our schools more than ever.

Why? At its core, art is about asking questions and exploration. More than ever, we live in a world that needs creative solutions to difficult social, political and economic problems.

The essence of art is creativity. If we are afraid of failure and consumed with getting the right answer, it inhibits our ability to explore a wide range of creative options. The search for new ways of seeing and understanding is at the heart of both scientific and artistic discovery.