My child is currently an Art major at Cooper Union. It is a very stressful and competitive place. Yes, my child is growing as an artist, and learning to defend and explain their work, but there are serious issues. Students who are white are challenged by other students and professors if they work in any form resembling western art practice, whether that be techniques or making historical references. That vein of work is considered to be oppressive. The professors are, in general, not skilled at managing art critiques, so at times the critiques become a free for all attack on one student. The critiques tend to be slanted towards student opinions as opposed to investigations of what the artist is trying to say. The students are fearful of speaking out about this for fear of repercussions in terms of grades and selection for exhibits. There have also been a wealth of students with high anxiety and depression resulting in some disastrous and heartbreaking results. If your child goes to Cooper for Art, be sure to offer them as much support from home and therapeutic counseling as you can muster. The counseling support at Cooper is minimal – they are stretched too thin and cannot respond timely to students in need. This is not a school that focuses at all on social and emotional well-being. It is a survival of the fittest environment, and by “fittest” I mean very tough and willing to go with the Cooper very masculine and cold aesthetic whether that is the student’s desired aesthetic or not. It is all about fitting into the Cooper aesthetic, not about finding one’s own creative voice.