By Thomas Okin
The art department is hosting the Busi-ness of Art Speaker Series during the fall 2019 semester. The purpose of the series is to em-power art students as they prepare to enter the professional field. The third event in the series was an alumni panel, held at the SAL Gallery in the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Alumni shared their success stories and gave advice to students about making a living as working artists.
The panel consisted of three alumni: Anna-marie Morgera (‘11), an art educator, Jourdain Jongwon Lee (‘13), founder and director of Space 776 Gallery, and Joshua Taylor Earley, a commercial and narrative director.
The panel was moderated by Winn Rea, professor of art. Rea stressed the importance of finding ways for artists to support themselves in the world today. Back when she was pursuing her degree, doing “art for the sake of art” was enough motivation, but today, artists must branch out to more than one interest in the arts to find a career.
“We artists were a part of the gig economy before there was a gig economy,” Rea told students. “We go out and find jobs and create jobs that knit together our life, and more and more people in our society will be working the way artists have always worked.”
Morgera’s open-mindedness helped her get a job after graduation. She went to catholic school in Queens, where art was not taught. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion for art. It wasn’t until she went to high school where she was given the opportunity to take an art class. After going to the school and showing them a portfolio she made, they placed her in an advanced art class to begin. “I saw that, as I was going through the class with other artists, this is where I belong. I wanted to study art education,” she said.
Morgera knew she wanted to teach in New York City, which is why she was drawn to the art education program on campus. “It was the right place to be – in nature – it’s very inspiring. When I got here I had no idea I would be able to explore so many materials,” she said.
Lee encouraged students to experiment. He told students that, he too, is always learning. This summer he took an appraisal class, and he is also taking the time to build his work on new things, like the online auction platform. “I’m learning all the different things now too,” he told students.
Earley, who studied photography, advised students to explore with different mediums and to create projects outside of the classroom. “If you’re a photo major, check out animation, check out video, because you might not get a job in photography.” Earley’s first creative job after graduation was editing wedding photos. As he moved on in his career towards commercial arts, his knowledge of video and 3-D animation was an asset.
Eric Rodiguds, an art education major who attended the panel, appreciated the advice from the alumni. “I thought it was really interesting,” Rodiguds said.
Storm Keeler, an art therapy major, also enjoyed the panel. “I could connect with them because they were past students. It’s cool to understand and see the process of how people develop.” Keeler said. “It was great to hear different paths of what one can take with their art education at LIU, seeing varying levels of career and success and how you can get there.”
The Business of Art Speaker Series will continue on Wednesday, Oct. 30 with Jean Noel, Becky Warren, and Charlene Wang discussing online tools for artists at studio A in the sculpture building.