Chicago arts school seeks out South’s artists


Anna Sommer's sculpture of a tree is delicately made with thin layers of paint carefully placed on each leaf. Photo: Mia Swanson

For the last few years, South High School has had a lot of growth and interest in art classes that resulted in students pursuing art by going to an art based college. Art is the expression of human creativity and imagination. Learning and practicing art helps with a student’s social, physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

The teaching of art is also very important. It passes on the knowledge that allows others to transfer their creative ideas into a reality and continue to expand their already vast imaginations. One of the art colleges that South students have applied to is the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Because of South students’ interest in SAIC, they sent a representative to talk to some of South’s young artists who may be interested in furthering their artwork as a career.

Travis Tiblier is the Midwest Admissions Counselor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As Tiblier did a presentation on the college, it intrigued Meghan Zieglen, Anna Sommers, and Alana Gripne-Oslund. Zieglen is a junior at South that is considering going to SAIC. She thought it was “dope” that the college decided to come and have a presentation at South. Even though she wants to go to an art college, she gets negative responses from people when she tells them about it. She says she gets comments like “What’s the point in going there? You can’t do anything with that major.” But she likes art and responds with, ”you can actually do a lot with an art degree.”

When Tiblier was asked to talk about the stereotype of not being able to make a living as an artist, or going to an art college is a bad idea, he said,“is there a way for you to write how loudly I’m rolling my eyes right now?” he laughed. “That’s not true. That’s really not true anymore.” He then explained how the current economy works on an information base. Companies are looking for people to improve their workplace, products, logos, and much more. To make them aesthetically pleasing, because then the company has a higher chance of becoming more successful.

As they become more automated there is a lower demand for manufactures leading to a higher demand for artists that have creative thinking and analysis skills. Machines are able to build things and replace these manufacturers but they are unable to think of things to build. That is where art becomes more important as our economy continues to grow as a postindustrial nation.“So the idea of a art degree as this useless degree is not going to be true and it’s not going to be true ever again,” said Tiblier.

Both South High students Anna Sommers and Alana Gripne-Oslund have supportive families that want them to pursue an art career. “I love art and I’m really passionate about it. And it’s fun,” Gripne-Oslund said. As for Zieglen, she is still expecting to go to an art college despite what others say. She wants to take drawing, painting, sculpting, and photography classes. Smiling, she said, “ I don’t know I kind of like everything…”

Near the end of the presentation Tiblier said, “we want to see your creativity. We want to see your ideas. We want to see your voice. We want to see your vision.” In response one student peeled paint of their pallet and another set her head down on her stack of sketchbooks. “We want to see those things that make your artwork unique,” Tiblier concluded.