Wednesday, October 25, 2006

OSU's History of Art 415

Thank you Dr.Groseclose and the students of OSU's autumn HA415 class for inviting Michelle, Justine, and I to speak to you. I thoroughly enjoyed our discussion, and hope that each student proactively looks for opportunities in order to forward their careers. Here are some suggestions to do just that.

  • Network

    • Get to know your peers—they’ll be the next generation of professionals.

    • Get to know respected leaders within your field of interest. If you are genuinely interested in their research, it will show. In most cases, successful leaders want to promote and develop future leaders.

    • Get to know people outside of your field. The cross-pollination of ideas will create the opportunity for new partnerships, new knowledge creation, and possibly employment in a sector that you’d never thought of.

  • Try New Things

    • Not sure what you want to do with that History of Art Degree? Try internships in various fields. Here are some places to look.

      • Art Galleries (there a ton in the Short North and throughout Columbus)

      • The Columbus Museum of Art hosts an average of 19,000 on-site hours from 1,400 volunteers, ranking the museum in the top 5 volunteer corps in all US museums. For volunteer opportunities, call Nancy Johnson, Volunteer Manager, at 614.629.0307 (tell her that one of curator Annagreth Nil’s former volunteers sent ya’).

      • Help a professor. Former student Mara Colasante worked with Dr. John Huntington on the Huntington Archive. She was able to work with a world-renowned art historian, and she gained important technological skills (she learned how to use FileMaker Pro).

      • Volunteer at an art library. OSU’s Fine Arts Library has utilized the help of volunteers in the past. Volunteering at the Fine Arts Library will show you the inner workings of what goes into providing resources to a divers, art-oriented group. Furthermore, volunteering will open up direct communication channels with librarians, art historians, etc. (see my bullet on networking).

  • Know yourself

    • Take a hard look at your priorities and shape your future accordingly. Do some research and look at what it takes to meet your goals. There are typically pros and cons to any decision we make. Do the pros outweigh the cons? Only you can ultimately decide. Use your instincts. If you’re wrong, use the experience as something to be learned by. For every success, there are thousands of learning experiences. They are truly experiences to learn from—not failures!

    • But what if my priorities are constantly changing? As humans, we’re consistently in a state of flux. If you feel like you’re not sure where your interests lie, pick a profession that utilizes your background and your personality. I would suggest that librarianship would be a perfect match for this scenario. As a research librarian, you would have the opportunity to help research a multitude of different subjects—often learning a little about each.

  • Be Flexible and Ready to Accept New Opportunities

    • Avoid tunnel vision (e.g. one can only be a professor with a History of Art Degree). Actively look for new opportunities. Professional organizations are a great way to key you into these opportunities. For example, the College Art Association consistently highlights new work within the visual arts and the culture that surrounds/informs it.

    • Being ready to accept new opportunities means sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone. Say you work for an employer that sees in you the ability to be transformative in an available position. The HR director knows that you do not have all the qualifications that they’re looking for; however, they see that your attitude and willingness to learn new skills as a viable asset to the firm. You’re offered the position. Do you take it even though you are not completely qualified? I would suggest being the person who takes it. By being that person, you will continually grow and evolve. Moreover, your work will be meaningful because you will continually challenge yourself. If you don’t accept new opportunities or if you don’t consciously look for new opportunities for growth, I guarantee you that you will soon become bored and maybe even angry with how you make a living. So, having a satisfying or meaningless career ultimately rests upon you.

    • The choices we make do not necessarily come without sacrifice. I do not mean to gloss over in the last bullet how difficult it is to sometimes reach our goals. More often than not, we must do without in order to gain what we really want. Sometimes that sacrifice is too great and we must revise our goals. From my own personal experience, I have had to give up a social life for nearly four years. Working typically 50 hours a week at 3 jobs while going full-time at OSU & KSU, I did not
      go out, and I had little sleep. However, I was determined to continuously evolve and become the best person I can be. That evolution will continues as long as I am living.

Again, thank you Dr. Groseclose & the students of HA415.

If you would like to know more about Fitch, a global design agency, please visit our Web site at

If you would like to know more about art librarianship, please visit Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS/NA) at

Finally, if you’d like to know the perspective of art library students & recent graduates, please go to Art Library Students & New ARLIS Professionals (ArLiSNAP)’s Web site at

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