Faculty member Drew Buchman ’77 describes a recent field trip to New York City: twenty-seven students on a mission of inquiry to learn how alumni are creating their livings by living their creativity. As so often happens when alumni and students meet, they recognize in each other a shared “Greener” spirit. It makes wonderful magic.
Story and photos: Drew Buchman ’77, Member of the Faculty
Program: The Business of Art: Making a Living as an Artist
Faculty Members: Drew Buchman, Zoë Van Schyndel, Doreen Swetkis
We went to New York City this December to network with alumni making a living in the big city. Faculty member Zoë Van Schyndel and the students themselves did a lot of the planning. Abby Kelso, ’01, MPA ’11, who works in Evergreen’s College Advancement office, helped identify and set up meetings with a series of amazing young alumni pursuing professional careers in both the “profity” and “nonprofity” worlds, to use fellow faculty member Doreen Swetkis’s useful new adjectives. (Doreen usually teaches in the MPA program, so this year has been a rare opportunity for undergraduates to benefit from her expert knowledge on non-profits, which are the most important organizations in the art world.) Zoë (from near Boston) and I (from New York) provided insider perspectives: navigating subways and buses, buck-a-slice pizza and general street-wise-ness.
Students consider meetings with alumni to be the highlights of the entire program and we’ve met with quite a few on campus, including independent artist and author Nikki McClure ’91 and Jami Heinricher ’91, owner of the Sherwood Press. But we did a whirlwind of meetings with alumni in our brief week in the Big Apple, including visits with photographer/camera inventor Liz Sales ’01, performer and publishing executive Erik Fabian ’00 of Moleskine, and theater director Hilary Adams ’95, soon heading out to Omaha, Nebraska to become artistic director of OCP (Omaha Community Playhouse, one of the largest regional theaters in the country, founded in 1924).
We met jewelry designers Erin Considine ’05 and Tarra Rosenbaum ’97, and got behind-the-scenes tours of the jewelry district in Manhattan and artist’s studios in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, one of New York’s hottest neighborhoods. In downtown Brooklyn, we got to visit the brand-new digs of Makerbot, and one of this burgeoning 3-D printer company’s principal creators, the amazing Bre Pettis ”95, also featured on the cover of the new issue of the Evergreen alumni magazine.
A Time Magazine video profile of Bre Pettis and Makerbot.
After side trips to Wall Street to visit the Museum of the American Indian, formerly the U.S. Customs House, built on the site of Fort Amsterdam, and the Museum of American Finance, we spent a last splendid day touring the Chelsea gallery district with artist/art installer Adam Taye ’04, at work in the James Cohan Gallery, and artist/curator/author/Bard College Professor Fionn Meade ’96, who took us to amazing shows linking art and commerce in unexpected ways: Cyprien Gaillard and Rosemarie Trockel at Barbara Gladstone and Richard Serra’s new work at Gagosian.
Fionn Meade at the Sculpture Center on Long Island, where he is a curator, discussing artworks by Matthew Buckinham, Laure Prouvost, and others.
The Magritte show at MOMA, a popular side trip, and a great example of a successful non-profit organization.
New York’s a historic beehive of activity, but the rest of the program got a good field trip, too, to Tacoma’s great new museum district. Artists are part of a web of organizations that support their work in so many ways–that’s the underlying message of our program, “The Business of Art” — if you want to be an artist, you’ve got places to go, and lots of people to network with. Artists often need time, and solitude, to do their work. Yet, as we learned on this trip, you can find what you need, even in the heart of a great city, and much more besides: inspiration, fellowship, supporters and mentors, and room to grow.
We all attended opening night of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company’s season at City Center, and saw artists at the top of their game–also members of the Company’s board, who also appeared onstage at this special fund-raising performance.
This entry was posted in Current Highlights, Field Reports and tagged Abby Kelso, Andrew Buchman, Dorene Swetkis,Evergreen alumni in New York, The Evergreen State College, Zoe Van Schyndel by R.J. Burt. Bookmark the permalink.