Liberal Arts Panel: Sculpting Your Future

The real world is a tough place so CSU’s College of Liberal Arts is trying to making the transition as smooth as possible for art students.

Last week, the College of Liberal Arts hosted a panel of three alumni to advise students about entering the professional world. Students listened as the panelists shared what they have learned in the professional world after leaving CSU and gave tips for success in the art world. Students then had the chance to ask any questions.

“This is a really good step at helping prepare us,” said Tiffany Trotter, a junior art education major.

Trotter said she came to the panel to hear about how to get ahead after college.

One way panelists advised attenees is to start networking through social sites such as LinkedIn.

According to Christine Costello, panelist and program manager for Colorado Creative Industries, it is a good idea to join email lists for job postings. Costello found her own job by searching localized Craigslist postings for Denver.

“Become familiar with the local job boards,” Costello said.

The panelists stressed the importance of getting experience in the field before graduation and, according to Costello, internships are a good way to get that experience.

“It’s always good to look for internships, but it’s hard to get your foot in the door,” Costello said.

Chairman of the Art Department Gary Voss said the panels are a way to keep students informed. Despite many students getting discouraged and walking out on the industry, Voss said there’s a lot of money in art, especially if artists venture out and get creative with their career paths, such as being a museum curator, an art teacher or graphic design.

“Many people can be successful in a career in art,” Voss said.

According to Costello, however, students should expect to have to work for their positions when looking for their first professional job. Costello advises focusing on bulking up their resumes with experience before working their way up to their dream job.

“I wouldn’t say go tor that director job right away,” Costello said. “Build up your skill level.”

Not all art majors plan to be professional artists after graduation. Trotter, for example, wants to be an artist and teach on the side.

“I hope to teach art and paint as a professional,” Trotter said.

“Not everyone can be an artist,” Voss said, but students should still have goals for the future.

Voss stressed the fact that there are a wide variety of opportunities available for graduating art students — just because students are not finding what they expect job-wise, they still have a lot of potential careers in art.

“There might be another way of doing it other than working at McDonald’s,” Voss said.

Collegian Staff Writer Amber Johnson can be reached at news@collegian.com.