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Art students at university level are trained to understand the theoretical aspects of their work and, more importantly, how to apply theory and the raw drawing talent that they possess to practice.

No artist can be made out of a disinterested individual. No amount of education can make up for the lack of talent in a would-be artist.

Raw talent, creativity and passion are important qualities because without them, the foundations necessary for the development of an artist are hollow.

Talent, though vital in the development of an artist, is not the most important quality of a young artist willing to learn.

Creativity, another essential requirement for a would-be artist rates lower on the index of the most important qualities.

Passion, the level of one’s initiative or their degree of interest is by far the most important quality for an artist.

Passion allows the artist to grow as experimentation and more practice add value to the style and technique of creative people.

Some grown-ups were among the most talented artists during their school days but because they gravitated towards other interests, they never fully developed their potential.

Most now only draw little images on copies on minutes during long or boring meetings.

Art in the young is a little like a small plant — without nurturing that includes water, light and manure, it is as good as dead.

Breaking the chain at a young age and attempting to reconnect later works only in rare cases.

Most artists find it helpful that they develop their ideas simultaneously with the natural development from child to adult. That way, there is a natural progression of the artist from armature to professional.

Tertiary institutions can never be sure if the prospective learners posses the right qualities when they select students for art education.

Art students at tertiary level are typically not looking to be taught how to draw.

Even if they did not do aanced level art in high school they should, by the time they start university education, possess skills equal to or better than that level.

Art students at university level are trained to understand the theoretical aspects of their work and, more importantly, how to apply theory and the raw drawing talent that they possess to practice.

Though the courses at tertiary institutions do not spell out overtly what their objectives are, but encourage students to answer the following questions:

What ideas, concepts and bodies of work can I produce based on the practical components and theoretical aspects that I was exposed to?

How can I best market my creative products so that I fully dedicate my professional life to art and in addition earn myself and my family a living?

Based on the objectives of tertiary institutions’ art education, it becomes prudent that students are selected on merit alone and nothing else.

Art is, perhaps harshly and much like the sub editors’ department in print media circles, adjudged to be ‘easy’ and a dumping ground for anyone that fails to meet the criteria elsewhere.

If a student does not secure enough Aanced Level points or did not pass mathematics at Ordinary Level, he or she does not ‘automatically’ belong to an art class.

Art educators at tertiary level are perhaps guilty of failing to develop infallible criteria for the selection of students meant for their faculty.

Insistence on the submission of a portfolio by prospective art students should rank high on the art educators’ list.

A portfolio, a brief collection of one’s artworks may give educators a direct encounter with the qualities of their future student.

Having a mathematics pass at ordinary level and having double digit points at aanced level are both important, but not as essential as coming face-to-face with the creative qualities of a prospective art student.

Enrolment of art students that fall far short in terms of raw talent, creativity and passion in counter-productive for tertiary institutions.

While the ‘proper’ art students work towards the attainment of the art qualifications’ objectives, the under qualified crop would be busy trying to learn how to draw.

It is not unheard of that some, pressured by deadlines and the weight of expectation turn to unorthodox means to pull through.

However, those that cheat their way through or use one or two tricks to gain official qualifications rarely make it after university because art, being a talent-based discipline requires the artist to be hands-on all the time.

Art education in Zimbabwe has produced some fine artists that have now become leaders in the media, film and television, education, aertising, fashion, sculpture and curatorship.

Those that made it big, at least those that I know of, have always had talent, creativity and passion.

Those that struggled to get a place in art class have continued to struggle since.

Some have moved into a completely different field while others have moved to remote locations where the assumption is that ‘low art’ can be seen as perfect.

Source : The Herald

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