On Feb. 20, art majors had a glimpse into their potential futures.
At the annual Art Careers Symposium, three professionals presented on how they succeeded in their respective artistic fields. Jessica Baide (’16), who is an art teacher; Sharon Vargo, who is a children’s book illustrator and Liz Wilson (’16), who is a web and product designer, all shared their personal stories and spent time interacting with students.
“We try to bring in a variety of speakers just so our students have an idea of possible careers and what they're going to face after graduation,” said Art Department Program Assistant Kim Hapner.
This annual symposium was held as part of an ongoing effort to expose students to the different occupations that exist for art majors. A Q&A session near the end of the event gave students the chance to engage with successful professionals in their fields of interest.
Two of the speakers were recent Taylor graduates, making their experiences even more relevant to students.
“It's really cool to hear perspectives of people who have come mostly out of Taylor and are working and how they got the jobs they got and what they think is important to know,” said junior design major Anna Poel.
Poel was most drawn to Wilson’s talk since she plans on going into design as well. She appreciated the chance to hear how career paths actually look in real life and the steps involved in producing good designs.
Junior Rinnah Shaw, who is double-majoring in creative writing and illustration, appreciated hearing from Vargo. She also met with Vargo for an individual critique, due to their shared interest in combining visual elements with narratives.
These individual critiques were held after the main event, giving students a chance to have new eyes look over their works. The speakers often checked portfolios but also gave advice on other projects and upcoming art shows.
During their time together, Vargo looked over several of Shaw’s pieces and offered advice based on her own experiences in the publishing world. Even more significantly, Vargo offered Shaw some connections to the writing world.
“It was helpful to talk to her about that and get some feedback on how that business works,” Shaw said. “And also knowing that I'm going to interact with her later in the year for a children's book conference, it was helpful to have made a personal connection with someone in the field.”
These opportunities are why the art department has continued to host the symposium for almost 20 years. Gathering all of the art majors into one place gives them a chance to connect, both with each other and with the people they might be working with someday.