“i don’t pay attention to the
it has ended for me
and began again in the morning.”
― Nayyirah Waheed
At age 64, Nell Irvin Painter decided to embark on a new career path by going to art school. Author of the infamous book, The History Of White People, Painter left a chaired professorship at Princeton to go to the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
When Painter enrolled in art school, she had ailing parents and people telling her she was making a mistake for even attempting to go back to school at her age. But, Nell didn’t hesitate to take the leap.
What I love about Painter’s book is that it not only shows someone following their passion, but it also shows the ins and out of seeking higher education. Hearing Painter talk about her process and tackling things, like #ImposterSyndrome, as a woman in her 60s going through the undergraduate process was fascinating. One thing that the author speaks about is the necessity of “institutional support” and name recognition for breaking into certain spaces, like the art scene.
As a Black woman pursuing higher education, I understand this sentiment even if it does suck. There’s a particular type of brand recognition that comes with being at universities and colleges that are well-known and give you access to rub elbows with the “movers and shakers” in your field who ultimately act gatekeepers to success. This issue of power and inclusion is something that Painter tackles in her book.
If you love memoirs and books about art, this book is worth reading!
Thanks to Catapult & Counterpoint, TWO winners will be able to win copies of “Old in Art School.”
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