The Search for Artistic Atmospheres outside of Michigan

Students like Ashley Gaal of Oakland University are moving out of Michigan after graduation, possibly looking for something more artistic.

Ashley Gaal, senior at Oakland University, in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif., number one in a list of most artistic cities in America and one of her possible living locations after graduating. (Courtesy photo)
Ashley Gaal, senior at Oakland University, in front of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Calif., number one in a list of most artistic cities in America and one of her possible living locations after graduating. (Courtesy photo)

The time is approaching once again, in which students eagerly prepare for their upcoming graduation. All over Michigan, graduating college seniors are planning for their futures after college. But the big question is, will they stay in Michigan after graduation?

In the article Young talent continues to flee Michigan, Ted Roelofs dissects reasons behind the net domestic loss of migration—meaning more people are leaving Michigan than are coming in. One example of a group that is steadily leaving Michigan would be recent college graduates. Grads of Michigan are quickly moving out of state after graduation and Oakland University (OU) grads are no exception.

Ashley Gaal, 22, graduating senior at OU, has her sights set on moving out of state after she graduates in April.

“My top 3 places at the moment are northern California, Oregon, or Washington because they are near the ocean, the people are laid-back, interesting, and artistic, and there are so many opportunities for me in the job market,” says Gaal.

Ashley Gaal is a Theatre Design and Technology major at OU, she has spent hours in the campus theatre working on backstage aspects, including set design, lighting design, and many more. Theatre is not generally a field one thinks of that thrives in Michigan. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the areas with the highest concentrations of theatre and television designers would be the District of Columbia, New York, and California with Michigan as one of the lowest—meaning, in order to get the most out of this type of degree, it may be smart to try your chances outside of Michigan.

Gaal at Oakland University, doing what she hopes to do in the future, creating art. (Courtesy photo)
Gaal at Oakland University, doing what she hopes to do in the future, creating art. (Courtesy photo)

However, Gaal is not completely sure that that is the field that she wishes to delve into in the future. She knows that she wants to paint, draw, and pursue art but it may not be in the theatre.

According to Forbes, three of the top ten most artistic cities in America are in California—number one being San Francisco, a location in which art-seeking Gaal has already spent time and loved. Detroit was the only city in Michigan to crack the top ten, placing in ninth.

So a large reason that young people are quickly fleeing as Roelofs says, could be that they are looking for somewhere that has more of an artistic atmosphere.

It seems that a common theme among those moving out of state is the excitement and anticipation of what awaits them in a new place. Ashley Gaal, lifelong resident of Michigan, compares the feeling of anticipation of moving to a new state to “hitting a temporary reset button on your life… You get to meet so many new people and learn about them and I think that’s so wonderful and exciting.”

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