The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
Beginning this fall semester, art students at College of San Mateo can put their paint brushes and sketching pencils to good use.
The school is offering painting and drawing students new opportunities to participate in professional art practices. CSM’s newly hired Assistant Professor of Art Rebecca Alex has developed partnerships between the college and four arts organizations: Peninsula Museum of Art, City Arts of San Mateo, Peninsula Arts Council and Manor House in Belmont.
The students can exhibit their work at City Arts and Manor House through the program. They can create a portfolio, frame, hang and promote exhibits, helping them learn the business side of art. Burlingame’s new Peninsula Museum of Art will offer student internships in which the students learn about working with a nonprofit organization, staffing galleries and the store, training to be docents, helping artists in their studios and cataloguing the permanent collection.
Peninsula Arts Council offers an online Artist Registry where artists can showcase their work and connect with artists and arts organizations across the country.
CSM plans to co-host workshops, lectures and other arts-related events with all of these groups.
“After teaching studio art at CSM for the past 18 years, I’ve seen time and time again extremely talented students who finish our program and then come to a screeching halt, because they don’t know how to proceed as professional artists,” Alex said. “How do they find an exhibition space or gallery, put together a portfolio, make that initial contact or find employment in an arts-related field?”
Alex said the arts have a reputation of not being a viable career when the Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that the revolution in electronic communications, multimedia and entertainment has created a growing need for highly skilled artists and designers. She said the explosion of eMedia and popular culture has created parallel growth and demand for the traditional visual and performing arts disciplines.
She noted, conversely, that CSM has the Fire Academy, Cosmetology and other departments that not only train their students, but also help them move into their professions through networking and presenting career opportunities.
“These four partnerships will enable students to curate, exhibit and market their work, post their artwork on an online Arts Registry for prospective clients, intern at museums and connect with the larger arts community,” Alex said. “Additionally, CSM will be able to co-sponsor events and workshops. We are already working on possibly co-hosting the Diamond Awards, which is the Peninsula Arts Council annual gala showcasing and honoring influential people in the arts in our community.”
As the new head of the 2-D Art Department, this is part of her larger vision of helping art students prepare for transfer and careers.
“I’m planning on writing a new course on Portfolio Presentation and Careers in the Arts as well as an Arts Internship course where students will be able to earn credit for working in a museum, gallery or business,” Alex said. “And, I’m reaching out to the community for any other thoughts or offers from businesses and nonprofits who also want to partner with us or who have opportunities for our students.”
Alex studied at Colby College, The Art Students League of New York and National Academy of Fine Arts. She received a master’s in fine art degree from John F. Kennedy University in California. Alex teaches painting, drawing, life drawing and design.
The CSM art program offers associate of arts degrees in fine arts, photography and art history; a certificate of achievement in art history and a transfer program.
For more information about CSM’s art programs, visit collegeofsanmateo.edu/art. CSM’s fall semester begins on Aug. 19 and there is still time to register for classes.
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