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The Daily Tar Heel

Show work today, have samples tomorrow

Taking your work from the studio or the stage to the rest of the world can be daunting. But by making moves now, students will have a leg-up after graduation.

Laura Ritchie, a senior studio art major with an emphasis in art history, was having just such a thought last year.

“It got to be my junior year and I realized I wasn’t really involved in the arts at all,” she said.

So she went to the Ackland Art Museum and the Carrboro ArtsCenter and asked if they needed volunteers.

“With the ArtsCenter, I started as a volunteer and gradually took on more responsibilities,” Ritchie said.

This summer she took on some of the gallery coordinator responsibilities and was offered the position this fall.

These opportunities are available, but students need to make moves to establish them now.

Emily Strader, the arts and part-time job specialist at University Career Services, said the important task is building a resume by getting experience now.

Students should participate in as many performances or exhibits as possible, she said.

Internships are another option, as experience in the field adds to a student’s skill set.

Artists do not always know how to promote their work and real-world experience can teach this, said Robert Kintz, student services official for the department of art.

“School is the time and place for developing technique and for understanding how to make your ideas come alive in your art,” Kintz stated in an e-mail.

“But great ideas and wonderful technique are less valuable if you do not know what to do with them after graduation.”

Laura Lane, UCS assistant director, echoed a similar sentiment.

“All students try to get good grades, but it’s really these complementary experiences that are going to shape the resume,” she said.

Many internships are unpaid and in a distant city, requiring students to pay for housing and food.

Strader said students might need to work part-time jobs during the year to financially handle an unpaid internship.

Finding a way to think outside the box and make cross-industry connections is important, she said.

“Every industry right now during these tough economic times is looking for ways to be creative,” she said.

“With the arts, we’re used to being creative, so this won’t be anything new for artists.”

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