A Closer Look at Creative Careers

As creativity plays a bigger and bigger part in today’s economy, the skills learned at an art and design school are more valuable than ever. This was one of the takeaways at a networking event held in Manhattan last week by the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), a non-profit consortium of 43 leading institutions in the US and Canada of which SVA is a founding member.

The event brought together journalists, alumni, presidents and provosts from AICAD colleges. SVA was represented by Provost Jeff Nesin and New York-based alumni Annatruus Bakker (BFA 2012 Visual and Critical Studies) and Lightning Yumeku (BFA 2012 Animation), founder and CEO of the animation house 3 Degrees Films.

Creative Minds Transforming Society

“Preparing students to lead us into the future is written into SVA’s mission,” said Provost Nesin. “That has all sorts of ramifications for our curriculum, our faculty, our facilities and, of course, the culture and the economy. And that’s what makes our graduates such a force.”

In the wake of the federal government shutdown earlier in the week, Trevor Bailey, senior director for worldwide education at Adobe Systems (the event’s co-sponsor) talked about the dire need for creative problem solving throughout society, the pervasiveness of bad design globally, and how art and design graduates are best equipped to tackle these challenges.

“SVA was a place I was constantly challenged and that prepared me for my challenges now,” said Yumeku. “My SVA degree gave me the tools to build my company. I learned to be critical about my talent and to fortify it with skills. I learned working in a team does not diminish one’s purpose or worth but allowed me to see how it builds new abilities.”

Larry Thompson, chair of the AICAD Board of Trustees and president of Ringling College of Art & Design, spoke about what sets an art and design education apart—how art and design graduates tend to work professionally in their areas of study at a far higher rate than their peers, are motivated by a true passion for what they do, and find lifelong inspiration from their peers and mentors. Thomson’s comments are based on research by AICAD, The Corporate Board, the US Department of Labor and Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the 2013 Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) Annual Report, which results from interviews with 65,000 arts alumni.

For more about the importance of fostering creativity in today’s students, see AICAD Executive Director Deborah Obalil’s piece on Wired.