ratte futures 2

Art Education: Caroline Woolard

No.: 008
Topic: Art Education

Prompt: Working within a $10,000 budget, how would you recommend for a young/emerging artist to spend their time and money as an alternative to a traditional (expensive and competitive) graduate education?


With a $10,000 budget, a young/emerging artist could go to a free or paid graduate school. Rather than ignoring the existing options for low cost education in our country, I do think that s/he should look into programs that do not create professionalized debtors, but instead continue to provide low-cost or free MFAs. A group of friends and I have made a list of these programs. To ensure that education is a human right, we must support and demand free and lost cost education, provided to all people by our government.

The work I’m doing now (with http://bfamfaphd.com and http://nyctbd.com/resources) is focused on creating longterm community livelihoods where shared decision-making and shared profit are possible. Personally, I was able to focus on OurGoods.org and TradeSchool.coop and SolidarityNYC.org for the past five years because I graduated without debt from Cooper Union, because I refused to go into debt for graduate school, and because I created a job for myself by co-managing a studio space that I built out with friends to keep rent low. So, while we resist conditions of debt and underpayment (see WAGE and Strike Debt), raise consciousness about our shared realities (see Present Group, Collective Actions), and suggest self-organized initiatives (see Appropriate Technologies, NYCTBD, BFAMFAPhD), we must also join the long-term struggles of all working class people by educating ourselves about the existing work around us.

Author: Caroline Woolard is an artist and organizer based in Brooklyn, New York. Making sculptures, furniture, and events, Woolard co-creates spaces for critical exchange, forgotten histories, and plausible futures. Her practice is research-based and collaborative. In 2009, Woolard cofounded three organizations to support collaborative cultural production; three long-term infrastructure projects to support short-term artworks: a studio space, OurGoods.org, and Trade School.

Futures is a new series that presents speculations about emerging models, responses to ongoing crises and a catalogue of possible futures. Responding to the etymology of “essay” as an “attempt,” this micro essay format invites diverse voices to address pressing issues in the arts.

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