In our society today, the emphasis placed on succeeding in a certain career path is incredibly strong, and for good reason. We live in a sort of messed up world, one that needs all the help it can get from college students on the verge of entering the career world, high school students grasping what they might do with their future, and children who have plenty of opportunity to sculpt and mold their talents. At some point in our lives, we've all been influenced to follow a certain path to change the world for the better. Growing up, I was told to be a lawyer, a scientist, a teacher, but never once was I encouraged to pursue my love of writing. Why is it that we don't encourage children to pursue the arts?
In high school, artists tend to fall on the bottom of not only the social pyramid, but also below the radar of students who are already viewed as successful. There are the incredibly smart kids who will no doubt become doctors, lawyers, engineers; highly esteemed careers that of course not everyone can do. There are the athletes who are revered by their towns and fellow students for their abilities. Then there are the artists. The kids who spend their time drawing in sketchbooks, playing instruments, writing in notebooks. Do they get their fair share of attention? In most cases, no.
Many think that art, music, writing, and theater are dead-end paths that won't lead to success and money. Expressing yourself and your mind is no way to make a living, you'll struggle all your life and you won't impact the world. Unless you're incredibly talented and the next Picasso or Hemingway, you won't succeed. Pick a more practical career path. Be a businessperson, a doctor, something, anything that will assure you a decent living. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these careers; if you have the necessary skills, then go for it, but why must artists be shamed for their choice to pursue and better their craft?
Without any art form, whether it be photographs, paintings, poems, or visual performances, the world as we know it would be different. You would have nothing to decorate your walls with, nothing to read, nothing to watch. Art is essential to our lives whether you want to admit it or not. Will everyone who pursues their preferred art form be wildly famous and rich? No, of course not. Those of us who are brave enough to invest in an education that'll hopefully lead us to selling our sculptures, words, and films for a living know that the odds of finding great success are slim, but we are not afraid. We've faced harsh criticisms more often than not, but we won't let that deter us from pursuing our passions.
The next time you think about scoffing at a hopeful dancer, actor, filmmaker, photographer, writer, or anything that falls under the general category of "artist," think about all that you have to thank for the artists who took a leap of faith and worked tirelessly towards sharing their talents with the world. Encourage the young artists you come across; maybe one day their paintings will grace your walls and their music will float throughout your home. The world is a more beautiful place with art of all sorts, we must not discourage it.