In the System

by beccaborrelli

William Kentridge

Alright, it’s been awhile.

Fast forward 3 months and 1500 miles from Ohio. Landing in University of Texas at Austin. Monday is “Art and the Creation of Meaning.” Today we talked about Art Education in “Theory” and in “Practice.”

Like as in theoretically… inspiring children to think about social justice issues while making art is a noble pursuit of taxpayer dollars. Like, theoretically gaining personal understanding by using art as therapy is a great idea. Like, theoretically discussing imagery regarding societal constructs of stereotype and gender roles- really rock children’s minds.

Yet in practice– many districts require Art teachers follow a standardized curriculum instead…

“Alright kids, it’s September 13. Today we will practice VALUE. Take out your pencils so we can make some art that uses VALUE…”

My peers were getting riled up about it.


Our professor placed one hand over sky blue linen pants and pushed strawberry blond bangs to the side:

“Guys, you have to be in the system to change the system.”

The other students… 6-7 years younger than I, nod their heads emphatically.

I think:

“Here’s to students and teachers that don’t get to have theoretical discourse.

On multi-million dollar campuses.”

“This Brazen Grad Student” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I feel the glorious purple haze of academia descending upon my psyche, and I relish ideologies that a standardized, industrial model will refuse to accommodate. Will I become irrelevant as I wallow in such a rich environment… ripe with fruits of dynamic philosophies and methodologies  for future generations?

My professor reminds me we aren’t going to “Save the World” until we live in the world.




So I have 2 years to figure out how I’m going to save the world. What a deadline. University utopia can only last so long.