I was a Math and Computer Science major at Austin College. I took my first art course simply as an elective and fell in love with it. I ended up with an Art minor and continued my studies in grad school. Austin College is a special place where someone can take an elective that changes the course of her life! After graduating from Austin College, I got my MFA in Photography at Savannah College of Art and Design, and now I am a Professor of Visual Arts at College of the Mainland in Texas City, where I teach photography, digital art and art appreciation courses. I also continue to make and exhibit my own work.
Even if you don’t end up making a career in the arts like I have, research finds that art education strengthens problem solving and critical thinking skills. The process of making decisions and choices while creating a work of art creates a framework for decision making in other aspects of life. The arts also provide a means of self-expression that is quite different from the written or spoken word. Though not all students will continue to make art after leaving class, art classes instill critical and creative thinking skills and a life-long appreciation for the arts, which will help them in all aspects of their lives. Art is vital to modern communication. Students will become more visually and culturally literate. Whatever career path is taken, the skills learned in art classes will prove useful. Critical Thinking Dispositions as an Outcome of Art Education, Nancy Lampert, Studies in Art Education, Vol. 47, No. 3 (Spring, 2006), pp. 215-228
Read more about Kristy Peet in the Austin College Magazine.