plein air landscape painting
Painting From Life vs. From Photos

Simple: to learn how to make a living as an artist. Art school education, no matter how stimulating, cannot be considered complete if the graduates need to seek other employment in order to support part-time, non-profitable art making.

Of course, the question of “how to make a living as an artist?” is not trivial. It brings together two things: 1) being an artist, with all the personal expression and integrity implied; and 2) how to live from this. Combining 1) and 2) is a serious topic for research. This should be one of the functions of an art education — to do research into how to sell art.

If how to sell art? is a mystery, then finding the answer will be as exciting as solving any other important problem. Advanced education is not only about learning, but also discovering what is not known.

The only problem is, if art schools could really fulfill their mission, they might loose their faculty — the professors would likely go off and do art full time.

This post was inspired by Bob Martin, who is on the board of an art school and commented “I would be very interested in learning what artists want from a school and an instructor.”

What do you want from an art school and instructor?

[Thanks to those of you writing the great comments, David Palmer in particular, for giving me insight into the art school education, where it succeeds and where it fails.]