What they don’t tell you about… being an art major

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By: Zoe Bernardi, Staff Writer

The Art Department at USM is a nationally accredited program that offers a multitude of professional degrees, such as studio art, art history and art education.

Those students going into art degrees are still left wondering what the experience with their major will really be like. The Free Press interviewed two current art students at USM to find out what they don’t tell you about being an art major.
Joey Harrigan, a freshman studying studio art, said that one thing that are required for art majors that aren’t for others is the high price of art supplies, along with the required textbooks.

“I think being an art major it’s pretty much a gamble,” Harrigan said. “I’m taking a bunch of expensive classes to just hopefully find a job with my degree.” He said that it’s a struggle to balance being a college student and full time worker who’s getting an art degree. Part of the struggle, he says, is with the expectations from her professors.

“I feel like a lot of my professors expectations are varying so it’s pretty stressful to make a piece that everyone will like,” he said.

Another student in a similar path is Shalyssa Hamberger, a sophomore studying to become an art education major. She has a goal to teach art to students in kindergarten to twelfth grade. What makes Hamberger’s major different from Harrigan’s and other art majors is that for education she must take a test called the Praxis, an exam that covers topics in reading, writing and math, but doesn’t cover art. This test is very important for Hamberger and she will take the test in later college years.

Hamberger said that she’s taking three studio classes and a math this semester. The studio classes are three hours long, and she said that it’s important to attend every class.

“These classes take up a lot of time and effort,” Hamberger said. “They are also very expensive. For example, in my photography class, we were required to get a camera, at 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.”

That’s just one class, Hamberger said, and that she has other materials she is required to buy as well.
“Basically I am broke but have no time to work besides one day a week because of all of my art assignments,” she said.

Hamberger thinks they don’t tell 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.

“They literally don’t tell anyone about portfolios… people freak out because no one told them that they had to make one and no one was given a date,” she said. “Basically everything you have to figure out on your own.”

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