Lay Out Your Curriculum

Jennifer McChristian

Jennifer McChristian, The Chair. Charcoal on paper, 14 x 11 inches. © The Artist

Our local schools have started back up and university students are moving into campus housing. It’s also a time when I notice a spike in activity on my Web sites and interest in my classes. It’s time to go back to school!

For those of us who have been out of school for some time, it’s easy to think we’ve had our education. But I believe that the more you learn, the more you realize that you know only a scintilla of what there is to know. We should always be learning–regardless of the field we’re in.

As an artist, you are probably inspired by your learning experiences in one way or another. My hope for all artists is that you experiment a lot–that you aren’t held back because something is comfortable. My hope is that you try new ways of doing things, whether it is a new way of making art (a new media or technique) or a new way of promoting your art.

Since it’s back-to-school time, why not lay out a curriculum to stretch yourself for the next year? There are so many ways you can continue your education.

Visit art exhibits at galleries, art centers, and museums. Make a special effort to go to venues where you’ve never been before.

Watch art documentaries on television or rent them. I’ve posted some good ones on the Art Biz Blog .

Read books and magazines about art. But don’t just stick with the same old topics that have interested you in the past. Pick up something new. I’ve posted some of my favorite non-fiction books about art on the Art Biz Blog.

Attend lectures and gallery talks. Check with your local museum, college, or university about their upcoming guest lecturers. You’re more likely to follow through and attend when you invite a friend.

Sign up for a class–even if you think you know the content. I’m always a little disappointed when newsletter subscribers who live near one of my workshop venues say that they’ve read my book or taken an online class from me. The implication is that they already know what I’m going to say. Sure, you may have heard some of the stuff before, but would it really hurt you to hear it again? More to the point . . . are you doing it? There is much motivation and inspiration gleaned from a room full of people who are also there to improve.


KNOW THIS———-~>

Your education doesn’t end with your schooling.

THINK ABOUT THIS———-~>
Is your art maturing? Is it getting stronger and stronger?

DO THIS———-~>
Lay out a curriculum for your continuing art studies.
Decide how much time you can or should devote to learning and set it aside. Put special events, such as lectures, on your calendar. Block out time for visiting art exhibits, for reading, and for watching documentaries. It’s easy to put this stuff aside in your hectic daily routine. But if you’re serious about growing and getting better as an artist, you’ll make time for it.

Listen to the podcast and share your thoughts about learning on the Art Biz Blog.

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