High school students attend academic classes and absorb endless math and science facts. They analyze specific events in history and literary classics. But what if those subjects don’t truly address a student’s passion? Where do students who want to pursue the arts and music as an outlet? Scheduling courses that foster these interests is sometimes difficult, especially in smaller schools. However, Andrea Darby and Dylan E. Miller fill that void for area students and adults.
Darby and Miller shared their advice for aspiring artists Feb. 8 at the A.C. Darby Studio. Darby is the owner of the studio where some of her own art is displayed. Miller is a local musician. When asked whether or not they’d recommend pursuing a career in the arts after high school, they had different answers. Darby explained that “it depends on what kind of artist you are. If (you’re) free spirited, sometimes going to school for art can kill the dream, but if you can get through that and produce what is your true art, then it’s worth it.”
Miller simply stated, “If you have a dream, go for it. You have to figure it out once you’re there.” They both agreed that each path requires determination.
Darby’s advice to aspiring artists stressed the importance of building a base and “reach[ing] out to people in your community.” Miller advised to “practice your craft” and “to not limit yourself to one genre or one thing,” urging musicians to “make music with everyone you can.” A career in the arts just isn’t about pursuing your passion. Darby explained that “it’s a lot harder than people would think from the outside... with art and business especially, there are a lot of things happening behind the curtains.” Darby concluded that despite the bills and inability to fully pursue art while owning a studio that it’s “still a dream.” Miller added, “You definitely have to be patient... (but) you can look past all the downfalls with the love of it.”
When asked what art meant to them in their lives, Darby replied, “Art is therapeutic for me . . . (it) can get a message clearer than any words can.” Miller explained that “It’s the reason why I get out of bed in the morning; I’d say it’s basically my identity. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
Andrea Darby’s Art Studio hosts open mic nights and is part of the local art walk. In addition, it hosts other artistic events; Darby believes that these events contribute to the community. She explained, “There are so many things that are so serious in life. (Art) brings a light (to life), so life is not just working, life is not just hammering away at things, you can have fun, you’re able to express yourself.” Miller expanded on Darby’s thoughts in terms of music, adding, “I believe (music) brings a lot of relief to people... people caught up in their daily lives. Music is a kind of release for most people, not just musicians, but people in general.”
A.C. Darby Studio is located at 417 Penn Street in Huntingdon. In addition to special events, it holds open mic nights from 6:30-10 p.m. the second Friday of each month.