Mixing Writers and Artists

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Lately I’ve been reading a blog about graduate school for writers. A recent post detailed a conversation like several that I have had, and a subject I often wonder about – why don’t writers get an education more like an artists’ education?

On several occasions, I’ve stumbled into an argument over whether or how writing is art. My art school friends, often on the other side of the argument, are focused on the creation of objects, more than on the creation itself. As a result, they argue that writing, although it is an artistic process “somehow”, it is not art because it does not create objects. Hogwash! After another beer, my artist friends can be convinced of the hogwash of their argument, and often they ask – so why is the school different?

It may just be that the education is different because of the “making stuff”. Writers don’t need all the gear, materials, and space in order to exercise their craft. There are other deep-seated reasons less clear to me. It simply isn’t the academic tradition to consider creative writing to be one of the fine arts. Why!?

Well, it seems like this is changing. There are a handful of graduate programs for writers, where the program is housed within an art department. I’ll have to do some homework to determine whether that actually means anything in terms of a different approach to writing, or anything like that.

A workshop for writing that is academic, but in the way that a workshop for the visual arts or the performing arts is academic… what would that be like, exactly? What’s the difference?

Like I said, it looks like I’ve got some homework to do.


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