Section: Features

Liberal arts aren’t artsy enough for one former student

Liberal arts aren’t artsy enough for one former student

by Milo Booke

While some students look forward to entering the professional world, few postpone their education to do so.

Klara Auerbach, formerly of the Class of 2017, is one of the few.

Auerbach left Kenyon this past summer to become a cosmetic store designer and visual merchandiser at Fresh Skincare in New York City.

A studio art major, Auerbach said she realized Kenyon didn’t provide the right environment to foster her love of design and art.

“Since Kenyon is a liberal arts school, our arts program is a bit more fine arts-oriented,” Auerbach said. “In terms of entering a professional creative community [of designers], Kenyon wasn’t necessarily going to provide me what I needed.”

Over the summer, Auerbach interned at Fresh Skincare, which offers a variety of skincare and lip-care products, as well as fragrances and soaps.

The company was so impressed by Auerbach that it offered her a position as a full-time employee.

“I essentially do the design when it comes to our storefronts,” Auerbach said. “I help create the physical manifestation of the brand.” Auerbach also works to design the in-store displays of the company’s smaller outlets in retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. She also works as one of the company’s Sephora liaisons.

Fresh Skincare has four stores in New York and more than 300 storefronts in the U.S.

So far, Auerbach said she loves the new challenges her job has presented to her.

“It’s very self-learning, and there’s a lot of individual responsibility,” Auerbach said. “People give you an assignment and just expect you to get it done. … You can’t say you don’t know how to do it.”

While Auerbach said she’s satisfied by her work, she isn’t planning on staying at Fresh Skincare indefinitely. Her contract is only in effect for a short amount of time, and she plans on going to design school to finish her degree and hone her love of the arts.

“I want to finish school and get my BFA, and then go back to working,” Auerbach said. “I’ve been looking at a ton of schools in the States, but also abroad.” Auerbach mentioned the Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design and the Pratt Institute as possible options.

Although Auerbach said she enjoys her new job, leaving Kenyon was bittersweet. “I really enjoyed my time at Kenyon, and there’s a lot of people I already miss,” Auerbach said. “It’s hard to see everyone’s Facebook posts about being back, and realize that I’m not one of them.”

Auerbach starred as a member of the Owl Creeks a cappella group while at Kenyon. Clara Mooney ’17, one of Auerbach’s close friends and a fellow Owl Creek, said she understands why Auerbach left school, but misses her presence at their a cappella rehearsals, a space where her absence is felt acutely.

“It’s really sad because it becomes such a tight-knit group that [her leaving] feels like a major loss,” Mooney said.  “But we want each other to be happy, and we’re so glad that she’s doing something that she really enjoys.”

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