by Devon Musgrave-Johnson
What is one to do with a degree in studio art or art history? For many students at Kenyon, this question can be daunting.
To help students reach an answer, the Gund Gallery hosted a talk Tuesday with Sara Jane Miller, the curator of Graham Gund ’63 and Ann Gund’s extensive art collection.
“One thing for me that is extremely important is to really talk to the broader community: students in art history, students in studio art, really anybody,” Assistant Director of the Gund Gallery Christopher Yates said. Yates said there is a general stigma against art careers, but added that “there are actually a lot of opportunities in places that you might not expect.”
The talk was held in the Buchwald-Wright Gallery on the second floor of the Gallery, a space filled with work that Miller herself helped collect. Thirty-five attendees gathered to hear Miller discuss her life, education and career.
Miller, who majored in fine arts at Ohio Wesleyan University, started her career as a writer and copy editor for a PR company, something she emphasized many artists may find themselves doing in some form. The talk stressed that it is normal for arts majors to start off using other skills they learned in school to make ends meet before branching into an art career.
She explained that through this company she began working in the art field, helping build a private art collection for a new building the company was moving into. Miller emphasized throughout the talk that artists can find work in unusual and unexpected places.
From there, Miller accepted jobs in various museums until she became the curator of Gund’s private collection of more than 500 art pieces, some of which can be seen around campus.
“I hope that students got a sort of realistic idea about what opportunities are out there and what is important in terms of work life,” Miller said after the event.
Miller emphasized that the art community is connected, broad and active, and that the best way for a newcomer to “make it” is to get in wherever they can and get their hands dirty.