Posting Date: March 2, 2009
KSU art career service a resounding success
By Liza Scales
Robert Sherer (right) created the Art Career Mentoring Service to provide access to opportunities for art majors.
Since Associate Professor of Art Robert Sherer established the Art Career Mentoring Service at Kennesaw State University in 2001, alumni, and students have benefited from the multitude of exclusive opportunities ACMS provides. The members of the ACMS listserv receive current information on future events and exhibitions in the regional art community, as well as inspiration and support in all aspects of the art world.
The listserv has grown from nine to more than 800 members since its conception. From 2001 to 2006, 113 exhibitions featured current KSU students. Well over 350 exhibitions showcased KSU artists. “In the beginning,” says Sherer, “I tracked the numbers. Now ACMS is so successful, I don’t see the need for tracking.”
Sherer explains that art students must begin thinking about their careers the minute they walk into first-year classes. “What I saw in my early years at KSU were students with a sense of intimidation and fear of Atlanta,” says Sherer. “They had little to no exposure to the richness of the Atlanta art community. I felt compelled to open their eyes to the great opportunities here.” So as a long-time resident of Atlanta, Sherer used his many connections in the art world to give his students the most current opportunities to show their work. He says, “I never miss a chance to tell my students on the listserv what I learn about what’s coming up. They can create work for specific shows, which gives them an edge over other artists.”
The KSU art uses the ACMS as much as the students do. Sherer says, “ are required to show internationally, and the listserv keeps them up-to-date on future events and exhibitions. It’s a great tool for them.”
The ACMS has four categories for art announcements: a digital listserv of exhibitions and opportunities; outreach to establish and maintain relationships with art dealers, critics, collectors, gallery directors, museum curators, and other artists, which helps advance KSU visual arts in the regional art scene; tours of art events in the area to expand students’ cultural horizons and help them become familiar with Atlanta; and opportunities that provide exhibition venues. Upper-level students are introduced to art dealers, and the finest artists are put forth to uphold the fine reputation of KSU.
Another forum of the ACMS is promoting charitable events. “My students love to volunteer for charitable events—getting out into the community to help,” Sherer says. He encourages them to become socially aware of local and global community issues. A few of the organizations that have gained from the work of KSU art students include the AIDS Survival Project, Georgia Lawyers for the Arts, Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation in Atlanta.
According to Sherer, the measures of ACMS success are worth noting. “Students on the listserv have greater career success than those who are not on the listserv,” he says. “Many professional relationships develop through out-of-class learning experiences. Several KSU artists have made substantial headway into the local art scene.”
In February 2009, Jessica Blinkhorn, 2006 KSU graduate and member of the listserv, was the curator for the “Anti-Valentine’s Day” show at the Eyedrum Art and Music Gallery. Sherer says, “This was a huge accomplishment which was heavily attended. This gallery is highly regarded as a venue for cutting-edge contemporary art, and we had 20 KSU students show their work there.” Sherer is also proud of the four KSU students who were recently accepted into the impressive “All Small Redux” show at Agnes Scott College.
Sherer believes that the reputation of a university’s visual arts program is largely determined by the success of its students in the professional arena. The ACMS promotes art to KSU students, and the art world learns about KSU artists. “The quality of our students is remarkable,” says Sherer.
To sign up for the Art Career Mentoring Service, visit http://www.kennesaw.edu/visual_arts/Opportunities/ACMS.shtml.