Thursday, December 4, 2008

Art Blog: Middle Aged Female Artist Card

I am just not going there. I just won’t. I have noticed a few references to age in my comment section. These references were not about me. It was about aging in general, but specific to woman. I am not going there. NOPE.

The reason I am so adamant is because subconsciously I want to go there so bad. I am wondering why I am not getting any job interviews. Don’t get me wrong. I realize gender and/or age could be an issue to some. Yet there could be a thousand other reasons. Blaming gender and/or age would be an easy out. It would be the reason for which I am searching. It would be an answer. However, I am not going there. I can’t because it will be my psychological doom. I can’t change my gender or age. So I just have to move on.

If you read this blog, you know I am looking for a new job. I want to teach college. My preference is to teach the lowest level; the foundations level. The icing on the cake would be to teach at a community college or a four year college. The reason I would love this is because my own best college art experiences were my first two years of art school. During those foundation years, I had two of the most knowledgeable, gifted, attentive artist/art professors you can imagine. I went onto the university and had some really great experiences but nothing matched the first two years. I would be happy as a clam if I got a job in a college art department and they told me I could only teach the “beginners”. Oh that would be just fine and dandy with me. They are the coolest students! I know. I have taught them before.

Now this age thing: I realized when I posted that last blog post about Harvey Milk, time is flying by so quickly. I have never been a person who dreamt of my retirement years. I will teach something or somebody until I drop dead on some studio floor. Hopefully and God willing, I have decades left to teach art. I just have to convince THEM. Shoot! Nobody knows how long anybody will stay at any job. A 30 year old could drop dead tomorrow! We never know who will last longer so I can't let my age deter my ambitions. In fact, I mentioned I learned from Harvey Milk. One of the things I learned is just go for it. He didn’t sit around thinking I can’t run for office because I am openly gay. He just did it. I want to have the same attitude. I want to get a college teaching job despite the odds. I want to be a middle aged female artist who gets hired!

I got another email from a college today. The secretary of the department was touching base. She was so nice and told me my application was doing the rounds. I almost wanted to tell her “Don’t worry. They aren’t going to pick me anyway.” NO NO NO! I can’t believe I thought that. I stopped myself immediately. The reason this destructive thought came to mind was because I laid on my couch last night and thought about that “Milk” post. I thought “30 years ago I was in grad school”. Then I thought, “Why would any college want to hire a person who got their M.F.A. in 1979? Who?” I stopped myself again. I can’t think that way. I will NEVER play the “middle age female artist” card. I just won’t. In fact, I turned it around and thought “I have the life experience and art knowledge that a 2001 graduate would wish for! I have so much to bring to the table. Also, I keep up with the times. I have understanding of the old and new. I know how to meld this information to suit the student's needs NOW.”

OK. OK. Enough. I believe you Sheree. In the meantime, I am in a little show in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you are in the area, stop by the show.
Obviously, I will not be at the opening. I will be here in St. Pete trying to figure out why I haven’t gotten any job interviews YET. LOL LOL LOL

“Simply RED”, Charlotte, NC


Eva said...

There are a million reasons why now is a difficult time. It might be about the employer's comfort zone. I remember when I was in my 30s in NYC, there was a job I did not get because I knew the business more than the person hiring me. They hired another relative-novice which I had to train, believe it or not. And that was in my 30s!

gilda said...

it seems that this is now the time that a lot of schools around here [metro detroit area] are advertising for full time faculty.
Wayne State University's new fine arts chair, a woman, sent letters out asking for donations to the dept to fund renovations to their physical plant as well as a faculty search.
U of M is advertising for multiple faculty. It is in large part because so many of the older faculty are retiring at the same time.
It goes in waves. Let us just hope they hire the best person for the job regardless of age, etc.

Sheree Rensel said...

Oh Eva,
I know. I know. I know. I totally believe what you said. A lot of it doesn't make sense. My current supervisor was suggesting I stay here, just change schools. Then, she gave me a caveat. She said "Sheree, you have to understand, they don't hire the person who is best for the job; they hire the person they like the best." I thought "Oh gee, they won't LIKE me?" But then she went on to say she has seen a trend lately. She said at least around here, they seem to pass over people with experience for those individuals still wet behind the ears.
I know this happens. Shoot! I have been on hiring committees. I have seen lesser quality people get hired for STUPID reasons.

Sheree Rensel said...

Obviously, I didn't even get a bite from OCC. Oh well. I tried. However, I figure if I can't even get a nibble from that place, I will not apply to bigger schools around there.
I know what you mean about the "waves". In fact, Jim told me the same thing. He explained how MCC hired all their full time faculty in the late 60s. Those positions have been filled for all these years. That is my problem. I seemed to be between WAVES.

I can't write anymore or I will start getting depressed. LOL LOL