College degrees in the arts

Executive Director’s Letter
September 10, 2013

Over the past few months, there have been a number of articles, including this one in the New York Times, about the Return on Investment (ROI) for a college education.  The data from various sources (both reliable and not so) is sliced and diced to look at success based on geography, college or university, major, etc.  It’s an important conversation for students facing years of debt, but one that is also fraught with value judgments and assumptions.

The angle of one piece was to list the eight college degrees with the poorest ROI and included education, sociology, and of course fine arts.  With a nod to the fact that many of the professions are important yet surprisingly low paid, perhaps it should encourage more outrage.  It is in fields like these and religious studies in which our kids and their children learn to be creative problem solvers, community builders, and engaged citizens.  No knock on STEM, we need those studies greatly, but it is a grim observation that the growing divide between the haves and the have-nots means that we are discouraging students from taking a path toward making benevolent contributions to the world, or punishing them financially if they do.

With September upon us, my tour resumed last week at Everyman Theatre’s fabulous opening of The Glass Menagerie.  I was also delighted by MICA’s “Congregate, Art + Faith + Community” an exhibition that establishes artist residencies within five houses of worship in the Station North Arts & Entertainment District, curated by the MICA M.F.A Curatorial Practice class of 2014.  I missed the opening, but also plan to see Mary Sawyers Baker prize-winner Jonathan Latiano’s show at School 33!

All the best,


P.S.  The countdown has started!  Just two weeks until the Baker Artist Awards site opens, so you better be getting ready to post your nomination.

P.P.S. Baltimore Innovation Week is less than two weeks away! Be sure to check out their events listing.


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