Words of ad­vice to those con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer in the arts

The Denver Post - - PERSPECTIVE - Re: Greig Steiner,

Christopher Zheng’s ar­ti­cle on arts ed­u­ca­tion struck a chord with me, as it is not a new phe­nom­e­non. I have been a pro­fes­sional artist for more than 75 years and while in high school was re­peat­edly told to move on from my aim to make a liv­ing in the arts world.

At the Cal­i­for­nia state col­lege I at­tended, there was not even an art ma­jor of­fered, nor a de­gree avail­able in the arts. I said I was an art ma­jor but ac­tu­ally was given a de­gree in ed­u­ca­tion— seem­ingly the only use to be made of the arts.

The term “starv­ing artist” was just as preva­lent in speak­ing of art in the 1940s and ’50s, and I sim­ply told those who said that would be my fate that I will never be a starv­ing artist— and I have never been.

My ca­reer cov­ered­much of the art com­mu­nity, in that I be­gan as a dancer, per­form­ing for over 40 years, added over­lap­ping ca­reers as fash­ion de­signer, scenic de­signer, wardrobe di­rec­tor, stage di­rec­tor, ar­chi­tec­tural de­signer, in­te­rior de­signer, and for al­most 60 years in Colorado, owner ofmy own gallery and stu­dios paint­ing in oils and sculpt­ing in bronze. Through­out it all I never had to look for a job; they all came to me, and still do, thanks to word-of-mouth ref­er­ences.

So my word to those who have a de­sire to cre­ate in any form of the arts is never give up, never give in. If you have a tal­ent, use it and pursue it dili­gently and make the arts your life and your life the arts, and let the naysay­ers stand on the side­lines.

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