You may recall the story about a class of kindergartners who are asked to raise their hands if they are artists. All hands fly up amid peals of delight. Then, a class of ninth graders is asked the same question. Few or no hands appear. What happened to still those creative hands? Unfortunately, as they grow older students are often led to believe that delving deeply into the fine arts will result in an unreliable and unprofitable future. Students are steered to more “practical” endeavors like science, engineering, or business—as if knowledge were deposited like grain into sealed silos.
As college counselors, let us ventilate those silos with windows of opportunity. Each fine artist is imbued with imagination, curiosity, and creativity, and through these windows light pours into every corner of the mind. Albert Einstein declared: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Einstein is in the good company of Leonardo da Vinci, who, had he been practical and followed his father’s profession, would have become a clerk. Imagine the loss, not only to art.