Free online art education is the future.
This evening as I was mindlessly scrolling through twitter, I stumbled across a thread that made me cry a little: https://twitter.com/claralieu/status/1270766687835611138
It made me cry because Clara’s story shines a light on a few of the core problems with the culture of academia, and how people of color are consistently the victims of discrimination. The piece that struck me the most was that her pursuit of openly teaching art online in an accessible way was frowned upon by the culture at RISD.
I strongly believe in education as a human right, and in my opinion, quality education should always be free and accessible to everyone. So the idea that the culture of a school, which denies access to nearly 75% of the people who apply to attend, would actively work to restrict and limit access to open education and sharing of knowledge online is unethical and immoral.
You don’t need to attend an Ivy League school to get a good education. You don’t need to spend >$100k to get a good education. You don’t even need to attend a school to get a good education. The internet levels the playing field; you can build a very deep understanding in nearly any industry just by doing research and sometimes just by watching random videos on youtube.
This is especially true for art. You need light instruction, time and space to experiment/play, and a critique community to learn and grow — this can happen 100% online, and I’m
At the same time, I’m super happy for Clara and artprof.org, because I think in the long run she will make a far greater impact on humanity than RISD has/will. ArtProf’s mission is to provide equal access to visual arts education on a global scale, by removing barriers that exist due to the cost of higher education & private classes. 👏
As the COVID pandemic accelerates the demise of the higher education system, students are going to start looking for less formal means of education.
I’ve been following the “Content Creator” scene pretty closely for the last few years, at times considering becoming a content creator myself. YouTube and Twitch have both created fantastic platforms for content creators to find their niche and build a reasonably profitable business that can fund content creation full-time. Today anyone with the motivation to learn how to film and edit a video has access to all of the tools they need to build their own media company essentially. In some cases, these small independent media companies can compete with and even beat large traditional media companies.
I think this is going to be especially true in the education space. Right now, in my opinion, the best strategy for passionate professors, instructors, and teachers is to start creating content; and building their audience. As colleges begin to fold (because nobody wants to pay >$100k for a zoom-based post-COVID education), students will turn to independent content creators; and smaller organizations that aim to teach as a public service vs. just trying to make a quick buck.
Using crowdfunding platforms like Patreon, independent content creators can successfully fund and grow their content creation businesses through subscriptions/donations.
As of today, I’m donating what I can, and chipping into artprof.org by giving $20/month — and you can too! Go check out the ArtProf Patreon page, and help make the magic happen: https://www.patreon.com/artprof