I was so pleased to have the opportunity to talk to area 10th-graders at Mankato’s Career Expo. Three of us in the arts had a table from which we tried to lure in students to convince them to pursue artistic careers. Thank goodness Jen Potocnik thought to bring a couple of guitars–students enjoyed picking up the instruments and trying them out. Matt Marka was on hand to help out the budding musicians and answer their questions, while Jen talked up theater with other students.
Several students showed interest in arts careers and asked us a lot of questions (despite the fact we were competing with a nearby puppy). I tried to emphasize the fact that an arts education can be broadly applied to many jobs (one student mentioned that her parents would like her to pursue something “practical”).
I was struck by how many students are already writing. I guess I was writing, too, in high school, but I was already pretty focused on having a journalism career–I wasn’t doing any creative writing. These students are writing fiction, poetry, and play scripts. They have clear ideas on what they want to write and what they want to do in the future.
I just hope that students who are interested in writing, theater, art, music, etc., now in high school continue to follow their passions. Too often that gets set aside in favor of “practicalities.” I like to tell students that even if they end up majoring in business or engineering or science or something like that, they should think of pairing it with a liberal arts major or minor. I think a focus on two disparate career fields can make a graduate a very attractive job candidate.