Art students fly to New York over J-term

Abigail Meredith, Assistant Arts Editor

Art students got a full taste of the bustling, inspiring and competitive atmosphere of New York City when they spent a week there for class credit. The graphic design class traveled to the Big Apple during J-term and interacted with those who live and work in the city.

Among the group was Corey Fuller, a professor of graphic design.

Students and professor pose for a picture while meeting with artists in New York. /Courtesy of Corey Fuller

“It’s called the New York Study Tour,” he said. “This is our fourth study tour. Julie Blackstone always leads the art section, and I always lead the design section. For my class, it’s always been a portfolio development course, which is something we don’t offer on a normal basis. Instead we offer it as a topics course, and students can take it for one to three credit hours.”

He discussed what the class schedule was like during the portfolio development class.

“Typically during the three weeks of J-term, we spend a week at OBU talking about what a portfolio is, collecting our pieces that we might want to put in our portfolio,” Fuller said. “Then we go to New York for a week and we spend time going to museums, galleries, different agencies, and meeting freelance artists and graphic designers. Then we come back in that third week and we develop a resume, a pdf portfolio, make a website, and try to get those pieces in place so that when students graduate they can start looking for jobs.”

Madison Crow, a junior Graphic Design major, said she spoke with some of the artists in New York City.

“We did the typical, touristy things, but we also met with several design firms and freelance graphic designers,” Crow said. “We got to talk to them and ask them questions about what they do and what they’re looking for in employees, as well as how to build a portfolio and what to include or leave out.”

One highlight was meeting with a designer who began his business after 9/11, Crow said.

“The next company we met with was Five Stone,” Crow said. “The owner… discussed the tragedy that started it, which was based around 9/11, and how he brought beauty from that. One of the things I took away from meeting and talking with him was learning how designers create beauty from brokenness. That really stuck with me.”

Crow said the artists told her that a career in design or art isn’t always easy.

“Matt Smith [a former OBU student] talked about how, after going on the J-term trip, he wanted to live there immediately, but he had to live in Harlem for a long time,” Crow said. “He ate macaroni and cheese out of a box for five months. It was good to get a firsthand experience of what someone just starting out in the field lived like.”

Though some students may scoff at a class trip to the Big Apple, Crow said the experience greatly contributed to her education at OBU.

“It was beneficial,” Crow said. “I mean, Corey could have told us a bunch of stuff we learned in New York, but it was good to get different perspectives from different designers. They each gave us something different to take away from each meeting.”

Fuller agreed.

“I have taught portfolio development here without going to New York,” Fuller said. “But New York is a place where you can learn a lot about the design world. Even though we have access to the internet, and we can look at all these portfolios online, there’s just something to be said for sitting down with somebody in an office, and catching a vision of the career that are out there.”


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