By: ZoÃ© Bernardi, Editor-in-chief
USM’s Department of the Arts is a nationally accredited program that offers a host of professional degrees, such as studio art, art history, and arts education.
Students entering art degrees still wonder what the experience of their major will really look like. The Free Press interviewed two current art students at USM to find out what they don’t tell you about being an art student.
Joey Harrigan, a freshman studying art in the studio, said that one thing that is required for art majors who are not for others is the high price of art supplies, as well as manuals required.
âI think being an art major is pretty much a gamble,â Harrigan said. âI’m taking a bunch of expensive classes to hopefully get a job with my degree. He said it’s a struggle to balance being a student and a full-time worker who gets an art degree. Part of the struggle, he says, concerns the expectations of his teachers.
âI feel like a lot of my teachers’ expectations vary, so it’s quite stressful to make a play that everyone will like,â he said.
Shalyssa Hamberger, a sophomore student studying to major in Arts Education, is another student on a similar journey. Its goal is to teach art to students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. What differentiates the Hamberger major from that of Harrigan and other art majors is that for education it has to pass a test called Praxis, an exam that covers topics in reading, writing, and math, but does not not cover art. This test is very important to Hamberger and she will take the test later in the college years.
Hamberger said she’s taking three studio classes and one math class this semester. Studio classes are three hours long and she says it’s important to attend every class.
âThese courses take a lot of time and effort,â Hamberger said. âThey are also very expensive. For example, in my photography class we had to get a camera, about $ 130, required to get our own photo paper, costing about $ 90 per ream and our own film, about $ 7-8 per roll, and we need many rolls. “
It’s only a class, Hamberger said, and she has other materials she needs to purchase as well.
âBasically I’m broke but I don’t have time to work other than one day a week because of all my artistic assignments,â she said.
Hamberger thinks they’re not telling you about the competition art students feel with other artists, which she says is the reason she didn’t go to an art-focused school.
âThey literally don’t tell anyone about the portfoliosâ¦ people are panicking because no one has told them they need to create one and no one has been given a date,â she said. âBasically everything you need to find out for yourself. “