Maine College of Art now offering businesses classes
I spent my first semester of art school at Parsons School of Design in Paris France. Now you'd think I would have loved it. Christ, I figured I'd never fly back to the USA. While the school was fantastic and nothing is better for an artist than classes at The Louvre.... the constant strikes in the city became unbearable. The mail went on strike so I wasn't getting my checks to pay rent. The subway went on strike so I had to wait in line for hours in hopes of eventually getting to school. And then the museums went on strike which struck my last nerve. OK, actually... the decision to leave was made on Thanksgiving when the police teargassed a peaceful protest on my street. Nothing says joyful holiday like "close the windows so the gas doesn't get in".
When I arrived home for Christmas I decided to take a run up to Portland Maine and check out Maine College of Art. I immediately loved it. Two years of foundation courses followed by two years of having your own studio space. The buildings were open 24 hours a day. The city is incredibly safe with a reasonable cost of living. Based on what I was looking for, it was a perfect match.
I loved the years that I spent at MeCA but, after graduation I quickly became pissed off. I felt unprepared for the business world... and quite frankly, having an art degree seemed to give people the impression that I lacked intelligence. Perhaps that's because there wasn't a single art school in country teaching offering business classes to their art students. Even worse, the prevailing wisdom at school was that after graduation you could teach art or abandon art. We were told that only one in ten of us would actually have an art career.
I didn't even try to have an art career after graduation. No one expected me to. I moved out to San Francisco and jumped right into tech. I learned on the job, staying up all night reading, teaching myself everything I needed to know. Fifteen years later, I finally decided to take what I had learned and apply it to a fine arts career. While I've now got kick ass business skills in my arsenal, it has always annoyed me that art colleges completely ignored the need for students to have a solid business education.
Looks like art schools are finally figuring this out. I stumbled across this fantastic article today about Maine College of Art. And I thrilled to see they are now one of the first art colleges offering business classes to their students. I am hoping that they up their game even more and add physics and engineering classes to the curriculum as well.