Monday, June 9, 2014

Career Day at Wood Hill Middle School

Talking with 8th graders at Wood Hill Middle School. Screen shows a photo of the art teacher I had who inspired me to be an artist.
This past Friday, I had the opportunity to present at my niece's 8th grade Career Day at Wood Hill Middle School in Andover, MA. I presented to 3 groups of 13-14 year olds on the kinds of jobs you can have as an artist and the kinds of jobs I have as an artist.

I probably crazy over-prepared, practicing my presentation in the car and the shower and trying to pack my PowerPoint full of interesting visuals to help tell my story, but I was nervous! I don't quite remember a Career Day when I was in the 8th grade, but someone I know said that she became a graphic designer because of a presenter at Career Day. This seemed like high stakes!

I wanted to engage and inspire the kids -- any of them -- maybe especially a girl in the room who might want to be an artist but feel like drawing wasn't something she was good enough at -- to follow and find their dreams of being an artist. I presented not only on the jobs I have now as a designer and illustrator, but on what it was like to think about being an artist when I was in the 8th grade.

There are no presentation stats I can go check to see if anyone really got something from the presentation, no way of knowing if any of what I said or showed made any kind of impact, but I do know that it seemed like a good thing to have done. I now also have more of an appreciation for teachers who do this every day.

The presentation also marked a sort of place I am at in my own career. Having the opportunity to articulate and come up with a statement about my career forced me to admit I am HAVING a career and really be clear on what things I am doing, what I enjoy about it and why. It is a good exercise! I told my art story, starting when I was in the 8th grade and finished with what I do now and where I am headed. I told them that no one does art in exactly the same way that they will, and it is there for every one of them to find if they want to. (too sentimental? I hoped not)

I also got a chance to check out some student art on the walls, and inspiring meme-like postings up in the girls' bathroom. The Personal Coat of Arms assignment below was particularly cool. And the quote about doubt -- another one to tape to my drawing table.


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