Thanks to the digital revolution, it’s a great time to be an artist, says James Linehan, professor of art at the University of Maine.
“An artist can sit in the middle of the woods somewhere, and as long as the UPS truck and the internet reach them, they can (have) a perfectly good career, and that wasn’t the case 20 years ago,” says Linehan, who leads the senior capstone for studio art majors.
The class is meant to serve as a bridge between school and the rest of life, according to Linehan, who has taught Studio Professional Practice for 22 years.
Linehan says the class aims to prepare students to attend graduate school or become independent artists.
“The course answers the question, ‘OK big shot, you got your bachelor’s degree in art, now what?’” Linehan says. “We go over a lot of things related to how to function as an artist after you graduate.”
And like all capstones, it puts students’ years of university academic experience to the test.
Students discuss careers, write a resume, develop an artist statement and create a presentation packet, which is needed when applying to graduate school or for a job in the arts.
A senior art exhibition, featuring works created throughout the students’ college careers, is the final exam.
The students are in charge of all aspects of the show, including selecting the pieces; matting, framing and hanging the art; positioning the lights; organizing an opening reception; and promoting the exhibit.
“The one thing I would hope they learned is to respect themselves as artists,” Linehan says.