The Impact of OCAD Students Protesting over a $180 Art-Free Art Textbook

OCAD Students Make a Stand
In 2012, the corridors of OCAD University were buzzing with the talk of a $180 art-free art textbook. It’s not every day that art students, known for their creative flair, take to the streets in protest. But when they do, you can bet your bottom dollar that they have a darn good reason. So, what was all the hullabaloo about?

OCAD University, nestled in the heart of Toronto, boasts of its nurturing environment for budding artists. Yet, in this particular year, a peculiar situation arose. The institution decided to introduce an art textbook that lacked, of all things, actual artwork. And as you might guess, the students weren’t having any of it. I mean, wouldn’t that be like a fisherman buying a guide on fish that doesn’t have any pictures of fish? It seems a tad counterproductive, right?

Why the Textbook Left Students Scratching Their Heads
Art, in its very essence, is visual. When students of art study, they don’t just read about art—they immerse themselves in it, feel it, and visualize it. An art textbook devoid of art felt like a slap in the face, especially given the whopping price tag. Let’s dive deeper into this conundrum:

  • Cost vs. Value: Dropping $180 on a book isn’t small change for most students. That’s a whole lot of ramen noodles! The expectation is that such an investment would provide immense value. Yet, this art-free textbook seemed to offer little more than a handful of printed pages.
  • The Necessity of Visual Aids: Asking art students to study without visual references? That’s like asking someone to learn swimming from a book without ever touching the water. Art is a visceral experience, and without the accompanying visuals, the lessons lose a chunk of their value.
  • Students’ Response: The art students didn’t just roll over and accept this. No siree! They banded together, showing their collective strength and voicing their concerns.

The Power of Protest and Its Implications
When OCAD students decided they’d had enough, they put on their protest hats (quite stylish ones, if I might add) and took to the streets. But what does such a protest signify in the grand scheme of things?

  1. Student Unity: There’s a beautiful thing about standing up for what you believe in, especially when you’re not standing alone. This protest was a clear testament to the unity among the students. A united front can move mountains, or in this case, perhaps, change the content of textbooks.
  2. Highlighting the Need for Relevant Educational Tools: It’s 2022, folks. We’re living in an age where education is ever-evolving. This protest underscores the importance of relevant, up-to-date educational tools.
  3. A Message to Institutions: Educational institutions should be pillars of support. The protest served as a reminder that they should always prioritize students’ needs over profits.

Broader Repercussions in the Art World
The ripples of this protest weren’t confined to just OCAD or Toronto. The art world at large took notice. Why? Because it wasn’t just about a textbook; it was about preserving the essence of art education.

  • Setting a Precedent: The OCAD protest set a precedent for other institutions around the world. It sent a clear message: compromise on quality, and you’ll have to answer to the students.
  • Reaffirming the Importance of Art: In a world increasingly driven by digitization and technology, the protest was a stark reminder of the timeless value of art.
  • Championing Student Rights: Every time students take a stand, it empowers others to do the same. The OCAD protest was no different, inspiring many around the globe.

What Can We Take Away from This Episode?
Looking back at the OCAD protest, it wasn’t just a momentary blip in the annals of art history. It was a defining moment. Students showed that when pushed into a corner, they aren’t afraid to stand up and fight back. But more than that, they showcased the undying passion and reverence they hold for their craft.

Art is not just about colors on a canvas or chisels on stone; it’s about soul, emotion, and expression. And when the very tools meant to nurture this expression fall short, it’s no surprise that those devoted to the craft would rise in its defense.

Remember the next time you come across a $180 art textbook without art, it’s not just about the price or the missing illustrations. It’s about the heart and soul of every artist that seeks to learn, grow, and create masterpieces. And ain’t nobody gonna put a price on that!