In taking so many art classes, I have been able to identify several people who are passionate and invested in the arts at Duke. I have found that between the students and professors, I am consistently inspired by the work of others and always feel that I have people to turn to for critique and guidance. Though the visual arts department is relatively small, there are so many opportunities in and outside of Duke that I have access to when I feel like I want something outside of class.
Art has been incredibly important to my experience at Duke because becoming involved in the arts here really changed my academic experience. I feel like there is a lot of pressure at this school to follow certain paths, and making art isn't necessarily one of them. Once I left those ideas behind and decided to pursue something I'm passionate about, my feelings about Duke became much more positive and I started to actually enjoy my experience here.
For me, art is a way to work through whats going on in my head. It's like having a long conversation with a friend or a therapist. It becomes a visceral thing and I find that my mind and body become completely immersed in what I'm doing, and for a second I'll entirely lose my sense of self, which i personally find to be a great thing. A lot of my personal work is representative of this, I'll look back at it sometimes and use it as a map for what's going on in my life.
Personally, art has been really important for me at Duke both personally and academically. It helps me through stressful times and allows me to ground myself, and taking classes like this one pushes me to explore what I am capable of and push boundaries of what's possible.