Without question, STEM has some of the fastest growing careers of the 21st century. Technology is advancing and creating new jobs in the ever so popular areas of science, technology, economics and mathematics. The 21st century sees a growing emphasis on anything STEM-related, so what about the rest of us? What about the arts?
Well sadly, I must inform you that we live in a society that every day gets closer to become one on in which knowledge of the arts is be punished. We’ve all heard the term “starving artist,” but it wasn’t until my guidance counselor told me to keep my love for the only thing I am passionate about as a hobby because “Realistically, it’s not going to pay the bills” that I really understood what how big of a problem this was. They tell you never to give up on your dreams but only if your dreams pay tribute and feed the beast of capitalism. After all STEM yields better results for the economy and overall growth of humanity, that automatically makes it more important, right?
Now that I’ve talked about why the arts is a dying out and why we don’t matter, now I’m going to tell you why we do. But first we need to establish, who are “we?” Contrary to popular belief, the arts do not simply refer to people who draw and paint. It includes, philosophers, musicians, dancers, sculptors, writers, actors. People who exercise their creativity for the sake of their work. And their work may not cure cancer or discover time travel but it serves a different kind of importance.
The Humanities are a storehouse of vitally important knowledge about how to lead our lives. Novels teach us about relationships, works of art reframe our perspectives, drama provides us with cathartic experiences, philosophy teaches us to think, political science to plan, and history is a catalogue of case-studies into any number of personal and political scenarios. The Humanities have some of the biggest clues out there about how to fix stuff. We are very bad at a range of things that these art students could help us with.
We still don’t know how to make relationships work. We don’t know how to communicate what we’re feeling to others in a way they’ll understand. We’re bad at interpreting our emotions and making good choices. We don’t know how to treat others and get the best out of them. we don’t know how to reform advertising, the media, politics, schools, architecture. And a lot of the time, we’re simply anxious and sad.
We aren’t creatures that need only practical things, we also need help with our psyches. The psyche related world needs to become a huge and valid part of our society and economy, worth as much as any other business.The fact that there are so many art graduates making coffee and waiting tables isn’t a sign that they have been lazy and self indulgent it’s that we have not collectively woken up to what culture could really do for us, and how useful and totally practical it could be.
So to all my fellow artist out there who refuse to sell out and work in cubicles punching in numbers for the rest of their lives, I just want to let you know, yes I will have fries with that.
Ps: Support your local art hoe.