What can I do with a degree in Art or Art History? The opportunities are wide-ranging, flexible and exciting, from museum work to the fashion industry. We have launched a new lecture series to give students a head-start on thinking about this question. This new series, Where are they now? Art History Alums in the Field, brings recent alums to campus to offer great advice and insights for "life after graduation."
This year, we had a superb line-up. Claire Charlesworth '07 Development Associate, Membership Marketing, Museum of Modern Art, New York gave a fascinating talk about the marketing side of a major museum. She shared advice on how she attained her position and the importance of networking and flexibility. Best of all, she offered herself as a point of contact for anyone interested in her line of work.
Gwendolyn Williams '10 spoke about her remarkable work on Celtic crosses carried out for her MA in Celtic Studies at Cardiff University, Wales. She shared great stories about life in Great Britain as well as the challenges facing preservation of these great monuments. During her visit, Gwen teamed up with Kathy Williams of the Career Center to teach students the do's and don't's of cover letters.
Elizabeth Petersen '10 who just completed her MA in Art History at Notre Dame University, stressed how her education at Gettysburg College had prepared her well for graduate work. She gave important advice, including mistakes, that she learned along the way, about what to look for in a graduate program. Elizabeth also talked about her exciting work on Renaissance drawings at the Snite Museum of Art and her plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Art History at Penn State University next year.
Laura Barone '10 gave an exciting finale to our series. Laura's interest in contemporary photography, gender and space has led her to exciting experiences and opportunities. She told us about an unforgettable year she spent doing an intensive MA in Art History at Richmond, The American International University, London. The program included over 20 Gallery visits, research in one of the best Art Libraries in the UK and even a class trip to Constantinople. Laura also gave great advice about how to stay connected to your field through writing—she began her own art blog in St. Louis and subsequently got asked to contribute material to other online sites and even to help curate a show. Like Elizabeth, Laura plans to start work on a Ph.D. in Art History next year, and she has been accepted into an outstanding program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. On top of all this, Laura is learning the ropes of what it takes to be a professor, teaching two Art History courses at a community college, a position that usually requires a Ph.D. She took the only day off she had during her semester to come speak to us at Gettysburg.
They all shared one message: be passionate about what you do and don't be afraid to network. The talks were all well-attended, and we are proud of their achievements and grateful for the time they gave us. Next year, we will continue this tradition—stay tuned!
The series was made possible by support from the Department of Art and Art History and a Mellon Curricular Development Grant, Gettysburg College.