Out of time, out of money: Reality of art students


Rob Le Cates

Teachers Assistant Samuel Wilson, a graduate student studying art, assists Jennifer Teibowei, a freshman biological sciences major, learn how to chain stitch during an Introduction to Art class in The Doudna Fine Arts Center Monday afternoon, Nov. 7, 2022, on the Eastern Illinois University campus in Charleston, Ill.

Adriana Hernandez-Santana, Features Junior Editor

Being an arts program student is far from easy. Between having to prepare pieces, practicing, or creating artwork, it can take hours or even days to get something just right. 

Here at Eastern, many of the students in an arts program, whether theatre, music or art, will sacrifice time and money to help them get one step closer to their dreams.

As a production stage manager for Eastern, Estela Guzman, a theatre arts major, says that she can easily spend anywhere between three to 15 hours a day working for a show. 

“The amount of time for me really depends on my role in a show, or if I chose to be involved,” Guzman said. “We have multiple shows a semester, so people are always working on something.”

Garrison Reed, a junior year music education major, believes that practice makes perfect. He tries to practice at least one or two hours a day. In a week, he averages about 10 to 12 hours. 

“I also have the weekends open, so we’re typically a little more free, when we don’t have games and stuff like that,” Reed said. “At least with marching band, I get a little more time.”

As for finances, it can really be hit or miss as to how much someone spends outside of tuition. For some, it can be nothing. But for the students who are really determined to be the best they can be, the cost can be a bit more. 

Guzman said that it really depends on how much you put into it to determine the final cost.

“If you’re in a class and you choose to get extra supplies for a project, or like me, I sometimes choose to buy my own tools, so it’ll cost more,” Guzman said. “Most project supplies are covered in course fees, so classes aren’t really financially demanding.”

Similarly, Ashley Spencer, a senior studio art major, said she has spent quite a bit of money investing in her art materials. The most expensive thing she’s worked on is a painting, which can cost a pretty penny. 

“Painting supplies, to gather all of the materials you need for painting, it’s $400, $500, just for one class,” Spencer said.

For her clay-related projects, Spencer notes how one project can really eat into a budget too. 

At the beginning of the semester, students are given 100 pounds of clay to work with throughout the year. While that may be enough for some, for ambitious students like Spencer, it’s never enough to satisfy the creative mind.

“If I’m going over the 100 [pounds of clay] that I’m given at the beginning of the semester, which you usually are, you’re spending at least $2-300 on clay,” Spencer said. “And if you don’t have the materials, you’re spending 50 plus dollars on supplies and stuff like that.”

Reed has also spent a good sum of money over the years to pay for his musical practices. 

“Between the amount of materials that I needed for all of those… It was probably an extra $2-300 on top of it,” Reed said. “And I’m just talking sticks and mallets… And even more on top of that years later.”

Regardless of all the time and money going into the arts, many students wouldn’t give this up for the world. 

“It’s worth it,” Reed said. “I don’t see myself doing anything else.”


Adriana Hernandez-Santana can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].