Seniors consider benefits versus stigmas of art school


Audrey Mannion

CHS students have many opportunities to express their artistic creativity, such as at the annual NAHS art show.

Liam Umbs and Rebecca Heath

Out of 81 students in this year’s senior class, 11 made the decision to attend an art school. Six will attend Pratt Institute, two will attend the School of Visual Arts, and the others will attend Artcenter College of Design, the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design.

It is no coincidence that a large portion of the class of 2019 will trade their gowns for smocks following graduation day. Art schools provide an education solely focused on the arts, giving students opportunities that other universities could not provide to showcase their work at exhibitions or film festivals, according to Hussain College.

Senior Lauren DeFelice of Wall, who will be majoring in animation and minoring in creative writing at Pratt Institute, said that she made the decision to attend an art school earlier this year after taking AP Studio Art.

“Working in AP Art with Mrs. Ortner made me realize how much I wanted to go into art as a career;” DeFelice said. “I’ve always loved animation, and I’d love to be able to do it at an art school.”

Though art schools provide benefits to aspiring artists, stigmas around the schools can deter a potential artist from attending one.

Some view art as an impractical career path that is destined for failure, such as Giuseppe Castellano, an illustrator and art director for Penguin Random House.

“[Art schools] can saddle 22-year-olds with debt in the six figures [and] kick graduates to the reality curb, arming them with only a subpar liberal arts foundation and an unremarkable portfolio,” Castellano said on his website.

Senior Merina Spaltro of Allentown, who will be studying animation and Visual Effects (VFX), ultimately decided to attend Drexel University, a research university, rather than an art school due to this stigma.

“I noticed that there definitely is a lack of academics at some art schools, which is probably the driving force behind the stigma,” Spaltro said. “That definitely helped me pick where I wanted to go.”

Like Spaltro, DeFelice recognizes the risks, but said that she is up for the challenge.

“Some people feel art isn’t a true job, even though it is just as taxing as any other work,” DeFelice said. “A lot of people do say it’s a waste of money too, but I won’t know until I try.”