Carrie Glassburn stood in a conference room in the PACE Center in front of a projected photo of a homeless man holding a cardboard sign that reads “Starving Artist.”
“What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people you’re …
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“What kind of reaction do you get when you tell people you’re considering a career in art?” she asked the room full of high school students, most of whom want to be professional artists.
A few chuckles bubble through the room, and some students nod in appreciation.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, or that you’re not going to have times where you’re eating some Ramen,” Glassburn said. “But you can make a living doing this.”
Glassburn, Parker’s cultural communications director, wants students to learn from experts in the field, so she organized Portfolio Day, a day-long event at PACE where students from Douglas County high schools received critiques on their work, tips on presentation and advice from professional artists on how to make a career doing what they love. Parker Arts Curator Rose Frederick also selected some of the students’ pieces for a special showing to be held at PACE in May.
Chaparral High School junior K.C. Cramm wants to be a painter and, ultimately, a gallery curator. She came to the event to sharpen her skills.
“I want to be able to improve my art and learn from masters, so when I join the art world I will be as strong as I can be,” she said.
Advice she received from Brian Dunning, chair of the graphic design department at AIMS Community College in Greeley, was what she needed to hear, Cramm said. She learned “how to use light and shadow to make my work more three-dimensional.”
“It’s definitely something I’ll take home with me,” Cramm said.
Artist and AIMS professor Colleen Martin, who currently has an exhibition at PACE, said the more criticism the students get at this stage, the better.
“It’s nice to get a new set of eyes on your work,” she said. “You can never have too much feedback in this business.”
Some of the artists needed to hear what their strengths were, Martin said, while others needed to learn how to talk about their work or how to build an engaging portfolio.
In either case, she said she couldn’t help but envy them.
“I wish I’d had an opportunity like this when I was in high school,” she said.
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