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Although few of the sixteen Hillsdale College art majors grad­u­ating this year plan on investing their futures solely in tra­di­tional art, most plan on keeping art as a part of their lives for per­sonal enjoyment or to aid the pursuit of dif­ferent careers.

Among those con­tinuing their art edu­cation, seniors Nell O’Leary and Emma Curtis are attending tra­di­tional art schools in the fall.

O’Leary was recently accepted into Studio Incam­minati, a four-year intensive atelier program in Philadelphia. Only twelve stu­dents are accepted into the program each year.

“The schooling is more intense than a grad school, but I don’t receive a master’s degree. It’s strictly four years of painting,” O’Leary said. “The exclu­sivity is to allow for the very intense mentor-mentee rela­tionship that the program offers.”

In the future, O’Leary hopes to stick to tra­di­tional art, but, unlike some of her fellow art majors, she does not share the same enthu­siasm about a pos­sible career in teaching art.

“It’s espe­cially hard to teach in the arts because you have to see what the stu­dents see through their eyes. To them, they are trying to under­stand basi­cally what art is. They have to chal­lenge what they see versus what they know,” O’Leary said.  “I would really just love to become a pro­fes­sional artist.”

Curtis, like O’Leary, plans on attending an atelier program but at Georgetown Atelier, a small tra­di­tional art school located in Seattle.

“It’s a really small school, so it’s a little exclusive. There aren’t many schools like it in the country,” Curtis said. “It focuses on very tra­di­tional tech­nique, which is a really good basis for any­thing I want to go into after­wards.”

Curtis hopes to teach as a source of income after attending Georgetown.

“I’d like to teach art at the high school level, but I’m not entirely sure. I know that I would love to have my own studio and do com­mission works,” Curtis said.

Other art major seniors are taking a prac­tical approach to con­tinuing their love of tra­di­tional art rather than an aca­demic one. Senior Natalie Knudsen will con­tinue to refine her sculpture skills by hope­fully working with Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Art Anthony Fru­dakis as an assistant or student at his studio in Saline, Mich. Last summer, Knudsen interned with Fru­dakis, and worked on the Liberty Walk’s Ronald Reagan statue together.

“I worked on the little details like the buttons and the shoelaces of the Reagan statue,” Knudsen said.  “It was a great expe­rience. I feel honored and priv­i­leged to have gotten to work with him because he is an amazing sculptor and an even better human being.”

In addition to interning, Knudsen hopes to con­tinue with her art business.

“I have an art business on campus, and I have my own website,” Knudsen said. “On campus it’s mainly air­brushing and wood burning. I do a lot of wood burning for fra­ternity and sorority crests for ini­ti­ation. For air­brushing, I did a cape for the pep band leader, and I air­brush at fundraisers.”

Knudsen’s passion, however, is teaching.

“I would love to be an art teacher at some point because of Pro­fessor [Asso­ciate Pro­fessor of Art] [Barbara] Bushey. She is just really awesome.”

Knudsen recently had an interview with Hillsdale Academy per­taining to an art teacher position for ages K-12 and hopes to start in the fall as an art teacher for them.

There are also art majors who have decided to pursue careers outside of art, but they intend on keeping art as a way of relaxing. Senior Anna Wiley, a double major of chem­istry and art, will be going into the field of chem­istry after grad­u­ating.

“Cur­rently, chem­istry is some­thing I’m excited about. I would love to work in the natural products industry in research and devel­opment or quality control,” Wiley said. “I guess long term I’m looking towards tran­si­tioning to a career in art. While doing research, you have a million problems, which can be really stressful, and art is a great way to relax.”

Wiley believes her edu­cation in art will help her in the field of chem­istry: “Art heightens your ability to pay attention to details, which is an essential skill in chem­istry.”

Whether they have the passion for becoming a pro­fes­sional artist, teaching art, or even for a dif­ferent career path, the art majors are deter­mined to use their cre­ative talents in their everyday lives.

“I owe every­thing that I have accom­plished to my Hillsdale career,” O’Leary said. “My time here has def­i­nitely nur­tured my fondness for the arts.”

     sscorzo@hillsdale.edu