In the ’60s I attended BU School of Fine Arts. Back then they had painting, sculpture, design, and art education as their major courses. My parents thought I should go for their art teacher program, and that way, if I didn’t get married, I could support myself until I found Mr. Right.
The problem was that the first time I practiced teaching in an elementary school, I HATED it! And it was too late to change majors.
But I fell in love in my jewelry course and decided that was wanted to do. (Only future teachers took jewelry). So, after I graduated, I worked for a goldsmith, did special designs for a New York company, I and had my own store in New Bedford for 12 years.
I could hardly support myself. Metal prices rose in the ’80s making it impossible to continue, so I went to night school in Providence and learned bead-stringing to do a combination with vintage jewelry.
Skip to the late ’90s, and my son (who is a brilliant artist) wanted to attend college and study illustration. In his second year, his teacher said because of computers now, illustration was not important anymore. He did not finish. But several years passed, and he decided to go to UMass to complete his degree. He majored in sculpture and graduated summa cum laude. He too could not succeed in the arts, and he is now a project manager for the DOT (Department of Transportation). Thanks to his high school teacher he learned a mechanical drawing course.
The times have changed. Computers have changed the world of fine arts. Hundreds of years ago, artists had patrons who were able to employ them. As we all know, it is hard to adapt to changes … should we forget the Picassos, Rodins, Monets?
Andrea Harrison is a New Bedford Light reader and resident of New Bedford.
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