So, as a UH alumni, I was asked to do a survey of the art department, and of course, I answered the question as honestly as possible. Although, from these responses, i'm sure i won't be getting in for my MFA.
The main question which I poured my heart and soul out to was:
Could the University of Hawaii at Manoa have done anything better during your time there?
and my response was:
There are multiple things that the University of Hawaii could (and should) have done better.
---Business/marketing or management course should be required for all BFA majors.
Once you graduate with an art degree, the world expects you to KNOW how to market yourself as a show-worthy artists, but if your college doesn't prepare you with, or at least SUGGEST business courses, you're totally at a lost. Every art student should graduate with AT LEAST a basic idea of how to start his/her own business, be somewhat profitable, and have your accomplishments/artist statement all documented and ready for the day after college.
I took the required "BFA" course which consisted of 3 overwhelmed and tired professors who didn't offer ANY type of advice on how to make it after you have your degree. I ended up getting an A in the class, but I left with a weak artist statement, a badly formatted CV and no idea of what to do with my degree.
I have SO many talented friends from the university of hawaii working at dead-end jobs which barely touch on the arts, because there is no preparation for "life after college..." as an ARTIST.
Luckily, while in school, I had ONE professor who showed my class how to write a proposal for public art (such as murals) but, if I didn't take his class, I would be just like the rest of my friends...working retail in a totally unrelated field.
----There should be more communication and a bigger push to allow art students to take other art courses unrelated to their major.
As a painting major, I was pretty much forced to take only drawing/painting and art history classes, and only had the opportunity to take 2 sculpture classes the whole time I was there.
I wish I could've taken fiber, photography, and glass blowing, but because
1) it was not a part of my "graduation requirements" for the bfa
2) there were only 1-2 sections offered for those other classes (which, of course, conflicted with scheduling) meaning that those dreams of trying something new were killed...
3) due to the lack of sections offered, the classes were overflowing with students...
4) it would've set my graduation back because to take a class, you have to take 2-3 pre-requisite courses upon entering.
there were no real opportunities to go "off track" and explore.
---All of the "art related" humanities majors should work interchangeably with each other.
I couldn't believe that there was such a disconnect between English/Music/Theater and Art majors. Those 4 disciplines make up the term coined "the arts" and yet, none of those four worked even remotely together, and if they did...it was a complete and total mystery to the students.
okay, while I was a student at the university of hawaii, I started an art club, because there was no-such-thing on campus, so I went through all of the paper-workand coordinated different meetings and events for the fellow members, but not one faculty member that I had asked helped out.
I had to ask a former university of hawaii professor who was teaching at KCC to be the main supporter of the art club, because no one else would do it.
That blew my mind.
I hate the fact that out of a department of 30 or so professional adults to whom you are supposed to almost 'look up to', I literally had to find a gemstone who (wasn't even TEACHING at the school) to help a small art-dream come true. ugh. so disappointing.
Furthermore, after I graduated, I wanted look into finding help in grant writing, and/or starting a small organization of fellow artist to do community based art projects.
I contacted the art department, and the response I got was laughable. It was pretty much "sorry, can't help you here..sink or swim...oh and thanks for the e-mail."
seriously? as an alumni I expected a little more support from the college i got my degree from.
----Job Placement/Job Resources...
You know, coming fresh out of college with a fancy BFA degree shouldn't lead to a year long depression of not knowing if 30,000 dollars and years of studying were just set to flames.
Because that's what I, as well as most of my friends, felt after graduating from UH.
I didn't even pick up my degree from the school, because I felt like it was such a joke.
I know NOW there are more ties made between the art department and galleries downtown (such as marks garage) and there are more opportunities to do cool things, like go to new york for a summer, but when I was in school.....I swear, NOTHING like that was even thought of. At least internship opportunities should be available, but of course..they weren't.
I went to Honolulu Community College after getting my BFA degree, and talked to counselors there about perhaps enrolling in courses there, and to my surprise MANY U.H Art graduates head back to the community colleges to take supplemental courses to enhance their dim-BFA degree, because Honolulu Community College is known for placing their students in prospective jobs after graduation.
Seriously, if a community college can do it, then why can't the university?
---Maybe offering one or two (optional) courses in art education?
. Let's face it, becoming an art teacher is a viable choice for those with BFA's especially since there a teacher certification program at the University. But, why can't the art department expand a-little an offer art education courses for elementary ed?
Because there are no jobs in hawaii for art teachers?
Ya...well there are no jobs in hawaii for artists, so why not?
I know I seem bitter, but it's because I am.
After i graduated I looked into what other schools were offering their BFA students, and it was shocking. Had i have been a little more ambitious as a high-school student, I probably would've looked elsewhere for my BFA degree, because although I NOW have a fairly good job as an art teacher at an elementary school, it had less to do with the fact that I got my degree from UH and more from the fact that I knew someone who worked at the elementary school.
ahahahhaahhaha...oh well, at least I might be helping future art students who go to UH.
I was going to say "I want a refund for my degree..." but, I thought that might be toooo much?
love you all, especially you with the beige plaid over shirt.