Why a College Degree in an Arts Related Field is Practical and Relevant

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“So what are you going to do with that degree?”

By the time you graduate from college with a degree that doesn’t directly involve numbers or science, you’ve probably heard that question more times than you’d like to remember. It stems from many places—disparagement, curiosity, true concern—but the inflection is always the same. Emphasis placed on the “that.”

Well, this question is going to be tackled head-on in an upcoming seminar on February 8, appropriately titled, “Why a College Degree in an Arts Related Field is Practical and Relevant.” Speakers from different universities, organizations and professions—including the University of Louisville, Bellarmine University, Spalding University, Humana, Governor Scholars for the Arts and others—will share insight as to how degrees in the arts are useful in modern professional contexts.

In an interview with Kathie Davis, the Theatre Administration Director at the Oldham County Schools Arts Center who is organizing the seminar, she discussed the details of this event.  

Who is the target audience for this seminar?

Well, we started out thinking it was geared toward high school students and their parents who are considering college options and now I think it is applicable to even college students who are considering their options after graduation but the primary marketing focus has been high schools.

Why did you decide to organize this event?

This idea came to me driving one day. I had a conversation with a student who had mentioned that he loved the arts, but that his family felt like there was very little job potential out of college for an arts degree of any kind—that we lived in the age of technology.  This bothered me so I went and started doing some research. 

First of all, not all people have a natural bent toward technology, just as not all have a natural bent toward the arts.  However, to say that there isn't a need or job opportunity had to be wrong.  What I found was really astounding.  I then threw out some "fishing lines" per se to see if what I was discovering in my research was true, and somehow connected with Jennifer Markin from Western Kentucky University.

She confirmed she had read a research report where companies were polled as to how Kentucky graduates were doing in the marketplace.  The response back was that in the hard skills they were fine, but lacking in soft skills.  The ability to communicate – speak in front of others, write clearly, problem-solve in the moment, discipline—these are skills learned through involvement in the arts.  That was the impetus for the event .To wake people up to this reality.

What type of "arts" will be covered?

We will cover visual arts, performing arts, and communications.

Will attendees have time to talk with experts in the field in which they are interested?

Yes, we will have breakout sessions that are discipline specific.

Why do you think arts related degrees are practical and relevant?

There is a vacuum today partially due to the era of technology.  There is a lack of discipline, a lack of competent communicators, a serious deficit in logical thinkers.  I personally feel that, while not a given, those that pursue the arts – dance, music, theatre, art, writing, speaking—out of necessity have had to train and work at a craft.

Our keynote speaker, Tom Noland with Humana is going to be speaking to the need for this, as he has seen it in the corporate structure, but it is evident in politics, journalism, and the local fast food joint.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and sometimes wonder if this isn't even a bigger issue than just choosing a college major, but it’s a start.

I want our young people to know that college is not about a set program— ‘a’ plus ‘b’ equals ‘c’.  Part of what we are talking about is how to take these skills and pave your own way.  There are open doors out there for people with their skill set in places they would never have imagined. 

You don't have to be a starving artist.

 

Event Details

“Why a College Degree in an Arts Related Field is Practical and Relevant”

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Here is the breakdown of the day's activities:

 

9:00 - 10:00 SESSION 1- Jennifer Markin (WKU) - The Power of Liberal Arts

10:15-10:45 BREAKOUTS

1. How to prepare an Art Portfolio - Beverly Luciano

2. College EXPO (various college arts departments in attendance)

3. Preparing for Performance Admissions in Music and Voice - Brittany MacWilliams and U of L Voice faculty

4. GSA - Carrie Nath

5. Preparing for a degree in Communications – Rick Barney of Spalding University, Ashlie Stevens of Bellarmine University

6. Preparing for a Theatre Degree - Jim Hesselman and Rebekka Meixner-Hanks

11:00-11:30 BREAKOUTS

1. How to prepare an Art Portfolio - Beverly Luciano

2. College EXPO (various arts departments in attendance)

3. Preparing for Performance Admissions – Brittany and Mac MacWilliams & U of L Voice

4. GSA - Carrie Nath

5. Preparing for a degree in communications – Rick Barney of Spalding University, Ashlie Stevens of Bellarmine University

6. Preparing for a Theatre Degree - Rebekkah Meixner-Hanks and Jim Hesselman

11:30- LUNCH

12:30 - 1:15 Tom Noland (V.P. of Exec. Communications Humana) How having an Arts Related Degree is pertinent in Today’s Corporate Climate

1:30-2:15 - Main Session: Branding Yourself Through Social Media and Internships - Kathie Davis and Christopher Davis

 

$10 per participant; includes lunch

To register call the Arts Center at 502-241-6018

Oldham County Schools Arts Center

7105 Floydsburg Road, Crestwood, Kentucky 40014

www.ocsartscenter.org

 

 

About Ashlie Danielle Stevens
Freelance writer based in Louisville, Kentucky. Writing curator of eclectic experience.
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