The Steadman Foundation would like to introduce it's directors Mason Daly and Rory Smith. As teachers in the international sector, they understand the importance of education and supporting creative young minds for developing knowledge.
SS: Welcome, this is an introduction of who you are and your involvement in the foundation. I want to begin with a real easy question, as individuals who are not artists, why is art important to you?
MD: It’s an escape for people; it's a good thing to express one self, because no matter whether you make something or destroy something, you are always creating. It’s important to have creation happening in the world and in one’s life and I think everyone can find value in it, even if it they don't realize it.
RS: It’s important, as Mason said, as an escape, and what a lot of people think, when they think of artists, is someone who is trying to create something to make money from, but its not that, they are creating something for them, and if you like it great and if you don't like it, they didn't make it for you.
How has art influenced your life?
MD: I believe so, in style or how I try to view things in the world, its impossible to live life without having art influence your life, because it’s literally in everything we do, its how you perceive it is the key.
RS: It didn't really start to influence my life until I started teaching kids who are talented in art, because sometimes those kids weren’t great with the subject I was teaching but to see them follow their passion made me rethink what I was doing and have new appreciation for art.
Why is art no longer being considered a high importance to study?
MD: It has to do with the end game, the job market. It is encouraged but its more focus on what kind of job will you get? How much money will you make? We live in a world where it’s about survival, obviously, and art is left in the background because it’s not a guaranteed moneymaker, it’s not something everyone could be successful at, but other subjects have more job security. But many artist today still are starving and art isn’t seen profitable.
RS: It's also just the first subject to get cut when schools lose money, the colleges want students to have math, science, but when it comes down to it, the education system care about the basic core classes. So when schools lose money arts are the first subjects to get cut because there is such a focus on the stem subjects.
Is it expensive to study art in today’s changing markets? Why?
MD: It’s about the materials, its non-stop. It's the matter of investing so much into and seeing what is returned.
As an educator, what are the benefits of being creative?
MD: It’s extremely important; I have seen students utilize creativity against their disadvantages.
RS: It’s also important, as educators, to be creative ourselves. It’s quite unique; especially here in China when things are quite uniform, when you show students it's ok to work outside the box. They see us doing it and see it’s ok and creating a new perspective.
Have you ever studied art?
MD: It was a class that allowed me to escape the monotony of classes. It was my time to do something unique.
RS: My one class was an art history course, I treated it like any other course and I didn't take it seriously but I wish I did.
What are your plans during your term of the foundation?
MD: I think for myself I am more focused on the scholarship project, I had friends in college who studied art and I know how hard it could be to get the funds to produce works and I want to be able to help support kids who want to pursue art because its an easy way to lose drive when you cant produce. I want to help kids get where they want to go.
RS: I have seen a lot of students who are just as talented as the “art classes”, and I want to be able to use the bridge project to give students enough encouragement to know they are supported to be creative. I also want to be as involved with the scholarship as well but I know we have great things in store for the future.
January 7th 2018 - Conducted by Sean M. Steadman (Founder)