The Road Less Traveled: A Career in the Arts


Sheli Yaskin

The number of students applying to major in art at universities has been on the decline. An article published in June 2014 in Harvard Educational Review by Bruce A. Kimball examines the prominent narrative asserting that liberal arts colleges have continuously dwindled in number and status since 1970. Moreover, students taking art classes at MVHS often feel disheartened to enter the path of art careers.

Jayna Dave, an artist at Mountain View High School, as well as another handful of students, expressed their critical thoughts on a professional art career. While Dave is very passionate about art, an art career is likely not in her future. As a young artist, she believes that there are few job opportunities when it comes to professional painting.

“I feel like art careers are not stable enough,” Dave said. “I have a friend who graduated from the art college, and while she is a phenomenal artist, she is struggling to find work. I don’t want to go through that in my future.”

“All my friends and parents say I will be [financially unstable] if I study art but I don’t listen to them,” Anastasia Garachtchenko, an art student at MVHS, said.

Students interested in pursuing a career in the arts recently got another reason to be excited about their future: Steven Aishman, a professional artist and photographer, who for many years has inspired students at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), visited Mountain View High School. Aishman has dedicated his life to teaching and promoting the arts throughout the community. He became a professor of photography in Hong Kong and the Associate Chair of Photography Department in Atlanta, Georgia, before becoming a Dean of Academics at SCAD. All the more, in 2003, Aishman earned the Certificate of Distinction in Teaching awarded by Harker University. His mission is to embolden future artists at MVHS for their future career and bring more depth to art.

Aishman changed the perspective of Karishma Khanna, a freshman artist taking Painting, on the possibility of a career in the arts.

“It was a wonderful, heart-sparking performance about art and the creativity it introduces,” Khanna said. “I think that the art career is something valuable and I enjoy being creative and I realized this after listening to Steven Aishman’s presentation.”

Several students said they enjoy more “practical activities.”  These activities offer a more stable career and offer more financial support.

“I consider painting as a hobby, but I am more interested in studying finance,” Xiaoxuan Zhang, an AP Studio Art student, said.

According to many young artists at MVHS, the words of Steven Aishman are still being discussed. Aishman was able to stir creative spirits and artistic mindsets as he influenced some students’ in their decision to make art a part of their future careers.