by Zoya Brumberg (MA 2015)
Last fall, the Career and Co-op Center brought some of our alumni back to SAIC for its series of panel discussions designed to help current students and recent graduates field the working world after graduation. What’s My Job? Alumni Conversations was facilitated by students and included extended Q&A sessions, assuring that participants would address real questions students have about entering the post-collegiate “real world.” Though most of the participants have only been graduated for a couple of years, they show that art and business are not necessarily opposites, and that a combination of hard work and a little bit of luck may just help students and alumni get paid to do what they love.
The three-day series ran from October 21–23, 2014, and featured recent alumni Vincent Uribe (BA, BFA 2013), Alysia Alex (BFA 2013), Quinn Keaveney (BA, BFA 2013), Courtney Mackedanz (BFA 2013), Alfredo Salazar-Caro (BFA 2013), Tyler Blackwell (BFA 2013), Megan Isaacs (BFA 2013), Hanna Mowrey (BFA 2012), and Justin Smith, all of whom have found or created coveted positions in their fields.
Uribe is the founder of LVL3 Gallery and works as a curator and coordinator for the space, which he began while still attending SAIC. Likewise, Keaveney, who sat on the same panel, started his own freelance type business Quite Quite. Other alumni who spoke found their positions through internships they began during SAIC that became paid jobs after graduation; a few found themselves so at home in the SAIC community that they chose to stay. Megan Isaacs, for example, is now the SAIC Sustainability Coordinator, and she is responsible for implementing many of the programs and design strategies that will make SAIC a more environmentally sustainable organization.
While some of these alumni remained deeply entrenched in the Chicago artists’ and DIY communities, others used the skills they acquired in art school to branch out and become administrators, small business owners, educators, or graphic designers in more corporate settings. Regardless of where they were coming from, alumni made it clear that graduates should have no fear of “selling out”; if you’re able to make money off of your craft, and you feel good about it, do it!
The Career and Co-op Center is proud to have helped out so many students find work and competitive internships, especially in recent years when the job market has been less than ideal. Many of the panelists from the What’s My Job? series found their start through positions they found at SAIC.
Contact the Career and Co-op Center to find volunteer, work, and internship opportunities—and check out its comprehensive schedule of programming and workshops.