This past Wednesday the drawing studio was packed with over forty students, faculty, and alumni. The main attraction was not the free pizza, cookies, and fruit punch however, people came to hear personal experiences and advice on how to make it in the art world. First up was Gracelee Lawrence ’11. Gracelee has been the subject of a Hand/Eye feature before, but has done even more since our interview last semester. Solo shows, group shows, juried shows, window front displays, and grad school acceptance letters have all been experienced. One calculation Gracelee made, saying she wished she knew before she graduated, is that she has experienced about a 45% acceptance rate into shows, and a similar one for graduate schools. At first the letters of rejection hurt, but in the long run, the decision was usually for the better. “Set goals” Gracelee advised students, “at first I applied to everything I could find”, but now she is saving a lot of time and energy by applying to shows that she really wants and can see herself being in. The ability to articulate her ideas and feelings towards her work has really increased her success. “Have 20 images of pieces you absolutely love. Having great quality images is totally worth paying for.” Gracelee is proof that when passion for the medium is paired with an outstanding work ethic, success is eminent. She concluded her talk with a sneak peek at her latest work, more powder coated steel and twine, accompanied by smaller mixed media items.
Following Gracelee were several working artist, including an alum, currently in residency at Arrowmont School of Craft in Tennessee. They each gave presentations of their recent work, paired with several plugs for the school. The evening was very refreshing. Often times art majors discontinue their practice after undergraduate studies. Seeing successful artists, and hearing their tips and tricks was inspiring and provided current students options on steps that can be taken post Guilford College.
Look forward to a posting Gracelee put together of multiple places to look for opportunities to enter shows and have work displayed!