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Alumni Success Stories

Studio Art

Lauren Bingham '15

As an undergraduate, Bingham knew she wanted to pursue a career in art education but felt she needed to establish herself as an artist before she could learn anything about teaching.

"I entered college as an art lover with very average artistic abilities," she said. "Salve's art department certainly helped me identify as a professional artist and gave me the confidence to continue my artistic journey, but this time in the classroom."

After Salve, Bingham earned a master's degree in art education from Tufts University and is currently teaching art at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts. "I am finding that I enjoy helping other people make art even more than I love creating on my own," she said. "My students love hearing about my college experience as an artist. I really get them to buy into the fact that art is a learnable skill, and that if you are creating all the time and constantly taking about art, you can be a successful artist."

Bingham said her art lessons are largely inspired by projects she completed during her time at Salve. "I wish every one of my high school students could continue their art education at Salve," she said. "If they did, they would be guaranteed a uniquely personal and collaborative relationship with their professors, a hugely inspirational art-making space, and an environment where they are always encouraged to freely explore their own artistic interests."

Casey Devaney '17

Devaney didn't set out to blaze a trail for her fellow studio art majors, but by the time she graduated with concentrations in graphic design, painting and photography, several of her peers in the Department of Art and Art History were following her example.

Studio art majors are required to choose a concentration in ceramics, graphic design, illustration, interactive media arts, painting or photography. Many pursue two, but three was uncommon before Devaney came along.

She is now pursuing an MFA in graphic design at Boston University's School of Visual Arts, one of the top MFA programs in the country for graphics. "I wanted to learn additional skills and feel more confident in the workforce," she says. "I learn better by being shown first rather than trying something for myself, and this is the next step of doing that."

Though Devaney is now attending an art school, she has no regrets about choosing a traditional liberal arts institution for her undergraduate experience. "If you attend an art school, you're only getting opinions from art-based thinkers," she says. "I liked that I could go to my friends who had no idea what a package label should even look like and ask their opinions."

Devaney says Salve's art faculty were also crucial to her success. "Having professors that care so much about each student made a huge difference on me," she says, singling out Gerry Perrino and the guidance he provided. "He was super flexible with letting me put all three of my concentrations into one class. He lets you do what you feel you can do the best in, and that really helped me build up my confidence."

Whiteley Foster '16

After assistant professor Susannah Strong encouraged her to explore cartooning as a possible focus in her artistic career, Foster discovered Vermont's Center for Cartoon Studies, which offers an intensive MFA program focusing on sequential narrative.

"This tiny yet incredible school helped my interest in this more whimsical form of art bloom," she said. "I was encouraged to draw in completely different styles, consider forms of storytelling that I never had before, and explore where I saw art fitting into my life and career."

Foster is currently doing cartooning work for a small studio and also enjoys storyboarding and character design. "I'm diving into some freelance work, such as child portraiture and poster and graphic design commissions, as well as preparing a script and sketches for my next graphic novel," she added. "While just in written form thus far, it is a large commitment and working freelance assures that I have the time to sink into such a hearty personal project."

While Salve provided a solid foundation in technical art, Foster said the liberal arts experience also gave her the opportunity to create lasting bonds with program faculty as well as classmates majoring in disciplines other than art.

"The greatest thing that Salve taught me is that art cannot be influenced by art alone," she said. "We need to have our minds stimulated by things like philosophy, mathematics or biology to be successful at what we love. Take as much time as you can to dedicate to your craft, but don't forget to explore other departments. The influence new ideas have on your work is astounding and the friends you make in these situations are excellent indicators of how your art is perceived."