On the one hand, creativity isc a prized commodity, needed to boost innovation across all industries. But somewhere in the mix is the notion that there is a dark underside to the creative marketplace where only the offspring of wealthy folk are able to participate. The path to a creative career in art, music, writing or some other field requires such things as unpaid internships and the ability to live in large expensive cities, only possible if the creative person has a spouse, parents or an inheritance to back the venture. At least this is the perspective from several observers on the issue of internships and creative careers.
Rich families are thought to be more likely to have connections to people who make decisions about internships. Conversely, poor families are not only lacking in connections but their college-graduate children are unable to accept unpaid internships due to finanial obligations and student loans. And if by chance a creative and talented young person manages to land an internship, that person may also need to hold down other sustenance jobs. This means that the extra responsibilities compromise the quality of the creative work due to the higher level of stress.
This theory was tested in a study of British journalists of all people. The findings show that 54 percent of the top media people were educated in private schools. However, private schools educate only seven percent of the total British population. At present there isn’t a comparable study of the top media people in our country – and one might question the pairing of “media” and “creative.” Regardless, the idea of the wealthy artist runs counter to everything we have been told. The starving artist is practically iconic, celebrated in the opera, “La Boheme” and updated in the musical, “Rent.” But who knows, maybe somewhere in the future the well-fed artist is waiting.