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NYC exhibition important career development step for AU artists

Kevin Jacobs arranges work for the NYC exhibition

Kevin Jacobs arranges work for the NYC exhibition

He’s dealing with painters, electricians, sign-makers and movers, all the myriad details that go into creating an exhibition in a temporary gallery in New York City.

For Hornell, NY, native Kevin Jacobs, it’s all just part of the job.

Jacobs, who received a BFA degree from the Alfred University’s School of Art & Design in 1989, is a career specialist in the University’s Career Development Center, and his primary role is to help art students make the sometimes challenging transition to studio artists.

And that’s why Jacobs has spent days on the road over the last month, traveling the 300 miles each way to and from New York City where he is organizing Profile 2010: The School of Art & Design at Alfred.

The special exhibition will feature the work of six MFA graduates and 20 BFA graduates; all received their degrees during AU’s commencement less than a month ago. Work included represents the full range of what the School of Art & Design has to offer, including drawing, painting, print-making, photography, digital art, video, ceramics, glass and sculpture.

Thanks to the generosity of Alfred University Trustee Michele Cohen and Marty Cohen, whose son Adam is a 2003 alumnus of the School of Art & Design at Alfred, a temporary gallery space is being created in vacant space on the first floor of the Gem Hotel, 300 W. 22nd St., right on the edge of New York’s gallery district in Chelsea.

Profile 2010 opens Wednesday, June 9, with a reception from 6-9 p.m. and runs through June 16 except Sunday. Hours each day will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

"The reason the Career Development Center is so supportive of Kevin’s efforts in organizing and curating the show is that this gives our graduates a much larger audience," said Mark McFadden, director of the Career Development Center. "It gives our new alumni not just an opportunity to sell their work, but a chance to see all that’s involved" in becoming independent artists, most of whom find themselves managing the financial and business aspects of their studios.

"If they want to make a living as an artist, they need to know what’s involved," said McFadden.
His work also allows Jacobs to establish firmer ties with young alumni, as well as the faculty and administration of the School of Art & Design, which is part of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University.

Jacobs is not only an AU alumnus with a BFA degree, but he has also worked in fashion and interior design in New York. He knows a number of artists and gallery owners. When it comes to the art world, said McFadden, it’s all about connections, "and Kevin is a connector, and very good at it."

While dedicated arts career professionals are expected at schools who only offer art degrees, it is "very unique" to find a specialist at a small university who spends his time working with art students and alumni, said McFadden.

It is something that began when Kathy Woughter, now vice president for student affairs, was director of the Career Development Center and created programs targeted toward the arts students. It was so successful that AU has continued the practice.

Through the Web site, alumni, faculty and visiting artists are able to submit their work for sale, with proceeds going to support the operations of the gallery. The gallery, the studios for first-year art students located behind the gallery, and the Web site are all made possible by Michele and Marty Cohen as well.

Creating exhibitions in the space gives art students very practical, hands-on experience in all the aspect of creating an exhibition, from designing the space to lighting and promotion of the event, said McFadden, something that also pays off for them.

One May graduate who completed the exhibition design course at the gallery is now headed toward a master’s program in exhibition design.

MFA graduates whose work is included in Profile 2010 are: Giselle Hicks and Brian Taylor, ceramics; Jason Bernagozzi and Moyi Zhang, electronic integrated arts; and Sarah Hoitsma and Joanna Manousis, sculpture.

BFA graduates are: Laura Bettina, Allison Craver, Alexander Contino, Katherine Coughlin, Maxwell Davis, Amanda Fazzino, Olivia Getkowski, Arthur Guilford, Elizabeth Helfer, Anne Mills, Sarah Nikitopoulos, James Pastore, Amelia Patsy, Sondra Perry, Steven Randall, Sarah Roberts, Jonathan Sudler, Kaye Waltman, Alex Williams, and Thomas Wulf.