A Note to MICA class of 2014:
I wrote this the day after I graduated in May 2014 from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and I re-read it every now and then to get myself back on that rush of confidence and excitement you feel right after you graduate from college.
I'll leave this note here for all of you recent graduates, art school or "regular college", to read whenever you feel your new-grad enthusiasm fizzling out a bit.
Push through, show up, be nice, and work hard, you'll get that job or that residency, or the freelance gig, or whatever you're looking for.
Dear MICA Class of 2014,
Four years ago, our parents and family heard the news that we got accepted into MICA, and were both excited and nervous for us to pursue the path of "art school" for college. I had my doubts at times about choosing to go to art school with people always asking you things like "can you get a good job with that degree?" "so what kind of stuff could you do with that major?" "are you gonna draw naked people all four years?" "oh see that over there, you should draw that." Fast forward through lots of conversations and (annoying) jokes about how we'll be "starving artists" and people asking me that since I'm a sculpture major am I chiseling marble all the time. Now the comments are "how can you stand out with the awesome skills you have?" "what are you going to do when you graduate?" "Tell me about when you studied abroad last summer!" "Tell me more about what you've been working on!" People are excited for us because we are so good at what we do and we proved to them that MICA was a such a good investment for us.
We finally graduated! After taking classes with you all, sharing critique days with you and seeing all of your work at the commencement exhibition this week, I know that all of those people that were nervous about you choosing art school before can see how far we've all come from those first days as freshmen. We don't pull all-nighters to finish our 15 page thesis paper, but instead to build a life-sized rock wall and parachute, or make paintings that are way bigger than our arm span, or change a concept for a crit the night before because of an eye opening talk with a professor.
I'm so proud to have been part of the Maryland Institute College of Art 2014 class. Everyday I stop and still can't believe how talented you all are. MICA is a place of makers, thinkers, leaders, and professional lookers always pushing the boundaries of the major and medium that we are working in. We are curious, we are intellectual, we are playful, we are so many things that I know will make us stand out so much as we enter the "real world" after graduation.
Don't let society label us as starving artists anymore, MICA has nourished me so much with ideas, and excitement for the future and I hope it has for you too. We have sometimes complained about the long draining critique days or the lack of hours in the day to finish a piece, we even complained about the meals a the Meyerhoff every now and then. But all of those bumps and struggles got us to where we are now, and I'm confident in MICA's positive presence in the world (now that class of 2014 is in it..)
Thank you for pushing yourselves through all these four years and making sure that you grew forward and were aware of what was behind you and in front of you. Thank you to Baltimore for letting creatives re-think abandoned spaces and bring awesome gallery shows and happenings to the community (shout out to "AllOverStreet" and Lil' Gallery). Thank you to all those professors and staff who challenged us, helped us shine, (and hooked us up with the occasional dream internship). and of course thank you to all our family and friends for supporting us financially and emotionally, some of us are moving back home to you and some are doing amazing things in new cities and countries but it all starts with family.
I hope that you all continue to have that desire to understand the world in innovative and thought-provoking ways and don't lose that ability to play and problem solve. We did it! I'm so proud of you and keep in touch!