MANCHESTER - The New Hampshire Institute of Art entered a new phase in its centuries-old history, graduating its largest class and giving diplomas to its first creative writing majors.
The graduating class included 14 transfers from Chester College, which closed its doors at the end of the last academic year.
Student speaker Linzy Clary told fellow grads that it is natural that they feel fear at graduation, knowing that the next stage in the life of being an artist "is going to be hard, in my opinion harder than many other career paths."
Sharing personal thoughts about her future, Clary, an interdisciplinary major in painting and illustration, suggested that fear over what will happen next is natural and expected, but said it is fear that may motivate members of the class to "reach for what we want in life."
"Art is what we loved, it was our passion and pleasure in life, however making what you love to do as a career and really loving it has so many challenges," she said. "Our fear can become a motivation, a passion, an inspiration."
Speaking extemporaneously, writer Andrew Dubus III amplified on Clary's well-received words to her classmates.
"Every generation needs artists. Life is not worth living without art and culture. It just is not. It is what gives our lives substance," said Dubus, who described himself as an overnight success story 18 years in the making. "Don't worry about the career. Don't worry about being successful. Worry about getting your work done, and, I'm telling you, the career follows."
The commencement was the first since the Institute for Art accepted several students who were left without a college when Chester closed, and the first since the school announced a new Master's in Fine Arts program.
Commencement weekend also included an exhibition of student works.
Fifty-seven of the 107 graduates are from New Hampshire. The institute traces its history to the Manchester Institute of Arts and Sciences, which was established in 1848.