Soon-to-be AU art graduate uses experiences to pave way to future
As she completes her bachelor of fine arts degree requirements this summer at Alfred University, Sondra Perry reflects on how she first became interested in art, how the University shaped her views of art, and her internship experiences. Perry, an art & design major from Perth Amboy, NJ, says while living homeless with her family in Texas, taking up art during high school helped her overcome hardship. "School was a great escape," says Perry. "Art was this amazing thing." After her family moved to New Jersey, a teacher at Matawan Regional High School, from which she graduated, told her AU was one of the country’s best ceramics colleges. She applied for admission. Perry says she remembers being enthusiastic about coming to Alfred, even though she didn’t know much about the University. She says the Freshman Foundations art program made her interpret art differently and feel excited to go class and learn every day. "Freshman year was probably the hardest year with the amount of work we had to do and getting acclimated to being in college life," says Perry. She says her favorite Alfred memories include the community aspect of late nights in the studio working with classmates to finish projects and accomplish goals. Perry won the School of Art & Design Senior Art Show in 2010. "It was awesome," said Perry "It was fantastic to know the faculty were really interested in the work." Other honors Perry has earned during her college career include the 2011 Civil Society Institute Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, the 2011 Residency at the Experimental Television Center of Owego, the 2010 Daniel Joseph Murphy II Memorial Award for Creativity, and the 2007-10 Marlin Miller Tuition Portfolio Scholarship. Perry says Alfred taught her to learn quickly and she applied that advice to her internships. "Internships nowadays are jobs," Perry explains. "You need to learn really fast." Some of her several internships include assisting New York artist Kalup Linzy, editing and distribution at Electronic Arts Intermix, being a public art fellow in the Times Square Alliance Public Art Program, and working as a curatorial intern at the Studio Museum in Harlem where she learned project responsibilities, video editing, research, cataloguing, and curating. Perry says she’s interested in a career in video, digital, or performance art. When she completes her studies at Alfred later this summer, she’ll begin a full-time position as a program assistant at the Times Square Alliance Public Art Program. "I would love to teach," says Perry, thinking about the future. "I want to try to do what my professors have done in my life."
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