I am a product of the arts. I was raised in dance studios and art classrooms as much as in my own home. I started dancing at four years old, began creating visual art even earlier, and played piano for years. I attended an arts school for seven years before heading to college to pursue degrees in dance and neuroscience. Over the years, I have gained as much, if not more, from my continued arts education than I have from my “traditional” education. The lessons I’ve learned, creative thinking skills I’ve honed, people I’ve met, mentors I’ve gained – these things made me the successful human being I am today.
The other day, Wells Fargo released an ad campaign that rubbed the art community the wrong way. It was meant to promote Wells Fargo’s commitment to getting teens financially prepared for their futures. What they came up with was this:
The ads clearly imply that careers in the arts, such as in dance and theater, are second tier to those in fields like STEM. Art is really more of a hobby – right? Something to grow out of, to set aside once one starts preparing for a “real” job. Right?
In a word, no.
You got it wrong, Wells Fargo.
Though the company has publicly apologized (reminding us of its financial support of various arts organizations), the fact that these ads made it to print cannot be overlooked.
In response to this insult to my love and livelihood, not to mention that of many of my colleagues, I made the following substitute ads for Wells Fargo. They feature myself and a number of talented, intelligent dance majors studying with me at the University of Florida. Since posting the originals, I’ve also begun designing ads for friends, colleagues, and former teachers who wanted to take part in the project:
Hopefully a Wells Fargo representative can make it out to one of our shows. They could learn a thing or two.
See the evolution of this project at: https://www.facebook.com/artmattersartistsmatter2