There is more to art than just a hobby. This is what Leann Souddam, manager of Perspectives Art and Craft Supplies in Trincity Mall, wants parents to understand.
Perspectives is gearing up for their busy season of supplying art supplies for students in the east. Parents typically go to the store and fill out the whole art supply list there. Everyone who works in Perspectives has a background in art in some way. Souddam, 21, is an origami crafter who also works with the Japanese Embassy to TT and has a CVQ in graphic design. She has been practising her craft for ten years.
Often she and other workers in the store provide guidance to students on what potential career they can have in arts.
"A lot of different people don't know that art is very important whether you do geography, science, or any other subject. You need to know how to draw a lot of things. All of it is essential. Not a lot of parents know what you can do with art. There are a lot of different branches you can go with art. There is photography, graphic design, interior decorating and more."
Souddam said Longman's Visual Arts: For Secondary Schools textbook is a great guide for students to show them what art can provide for a career and hope parents would see art as a lucrative field.
"Parents think art is just a hobby. It's nothing deep for them. Parents think of what their children can do to sustain themselves to make money, and for them art is not one of those things. They think it's okay to be a doctor, lawyer, anything with a science, but they don't know that art is influential in its own way."
Beatrix Potter, writer and illustrator of The Tales of Peter Rabbit, was also a scientist whose drawings of fungi inspired a lot of her books. Art therapy is also another career students can pursue with a background in art.
"Art therapy is a subject that's taught in universities. It's part of the psychology department. If you intend to go into art therapy you have to do psychology, you have to do visual arts. There is a certificate for that as well. That is why you have a lot of sip and paint events all over the place. A lot of the galleries have it now," she said.
Newsday visited the store on Thursday to see how back to school shopping was going. Perspectives has the booklist for schools such as Hillview College, St Augustine Girls' High School, St Joseph's Convent, St Joseph. Even an undisclosed school in Moruga also gets supplies from the store because the art teacher buys all the supplies for his class to disperse between the students.
"It's not as busy as I hoped it would have been. In past years it would have been busier, but it's only July. We are looking at August, and then it will start to pick up."
One of the biggest problems they encounter with parents is that their stocks may not match what is on parents booklists.
"In terms of what we have for the school supplies and what we have for the booklist right now, we are convincing the parents that the brands they have on the art list isn't what it was back then. A lot of the brands they have on the booklist would not be available any more. They stopped bringing it in and the school hasn't updated the booklist. There are a lot of parents who are now going into the school and they want to be as close to the booklist as possible."
She said Perspective tries to stock art supplies that are affordable for parents so that they don't compete with the textbook budget.
Photos taken from Perspectives' Facebook page