Grab a snack, because this is going to take a while.
As I created this blog as a platform for fashion and beauty, it has slowly progressed into writing, photography, and one of my favorite passions, ranting. Maybe I should start a series called Rants with Riley because boy do I have a lot to say, so I bring to you today, “You Hit Like an Artist”.
I suppose I always realized it. I realized it the day I looked into the audience and saw many empty seats. I realized it when I went to a jazz band concert, and was one of only a handful attendees. I realized it when there were no newspaper articles, when all who attended an art show seemed to be family members and friends within a small art community. I realized it, when here I was busting my ass to be a good student and an artist, in a school that, simply put, gives more shits about sports than anything else.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve played my fair share of sports, if I was good or not is a different story (the answer is no). I absolutely understand the amount of effort, practice, and team work it takes to create a successful team. But are sports teams really only the kind of teams there are? Is a cast not a team? A band? Are those not teams? Are those not people putting in extra hours to reach a common goal? The imbalance of support for sports and art is truly concerning.
I happen to attend a school where the virus of sports culture is incurable, suburbia has truly taken its toll. Now I’m not asking for people to suddenly hate sports or to undermine the work of the athlete, I’m talking about good old equality people, whatever that may be. Let me tell you, the artist is not lazy, the artist is not stupid, in fact the artist has reached a level of thinking far beyond that of following directions. It is the final game, and it is up to them to make the final play.
Now I better get to the point or this is going to turn into a novel: it is extraordinarily frustrating that I attend school with athletes who already know which college they will be attending based on their sports only. It is irritating beyond belief that sports give you a couple extra points in the good old college criteria, and god dammit it breaks my heart to see the work every artist puts into their work that 90% of the school won’t even acknowledge.
Must we forget how important art is to our community? To our history? To our future? Who are we if we cannot express ourselves? Where are the colleges scouting the artists out? Why must I feel an insane amount of pressure to do well in school when all I ever want to do is art? Why can’t I know what college I’m going to? Oh, because I don’t play a sport.
I wish for one second, people could see how much work goes into creating. Imagine a world where students were as interested in the arts as they were sports. Art in schools, at least my school, may never get the credit it deserves.
I have to admit I am lucky enough to be part of an “Arts Academy” in my school, which even still has been talked down by peers. My own, very creative, sister was hesitant to join the academy because it may separate the members from their peers. We ran track that year although I was fully aware I dreaded the sport. Even still I feel as if sports give me more credentials than the art I have worked so hard for.
There were no pins this year at graduation to recognize members of the academy, because administration “forgot”. I suppose art isn’t important anyway.
As I write this post, I have come to realize I have been built on art, as well as the people I surround myself with. There has been no greater impact on my life than fashion, than Project Runway, than immense amounts of youtube videos, rereading Seventeen magazine, admiring my favorite photographers. I wish schools could see the half of it. I wish there were more than “leadership positions” than sports captains, than literal competitions for who can do the most community service. Where’s the category for passion, the leadership position for creativity, where’s the college scout at our art shows, where’s the newspaper articles, where’s the audiences?
Although I’m ranty and salty about most aspects of my high school, I will always appreciate the underdogs, the people, the artists I have met who radiate kindness, passion, and soul. I hope, that one day, all of that will be recognized too.
We may hit like artists, but we’ll still bring home the gold.