Being an artist doesn’t just involve a paintbrush and a palette anymore. Art takes many forms, and Olivet College is catering to that notion with its visual arts program. Graduates of the OC visual arts program go on to become studio artists, art therapists, medical or scientific illustrators, art gallery owners and much more.
“There are many things that make Olivet’s visual arts program special,” Gary Wertheimer, professor of art, said. “Students receive a lot of one-on-one attention and support. We offer internship and travel opportunities, and we have an active, vibrant art gallery that hosts six exhibitions a year.”
The visual arts program offers the following majors: graphic design; visual arts with concentrations in biological illustration and studio art; and visual arts dual discipline with concentrations in arts business and pre-art therapy.
Junior Katie Priest is specializing in pre-art therapy.
“This is a major that combines the best of both worlds if your interests are in the arts and psychology,” Katie said. “For me, my art skills have shown massive improvement, and I recognize how art helps people cope with issues. And psychology is so fascinating to me that I want to learn more about why people are the way that they are.”
After graduation, Katie plans to pursue a master’s degree so she can become an art therapist. She is also considering residencies for oil painting, as she’s found that medium is her favorite to work with.
Junior Reiker Dean plans on finding a residency after graduation.
“My goal is to create an even more encompassing portfolio in order to apply to graduate school for painting,” Reiker said. “With a graduate degree, I hope to become a working studio artist or professor.”
Reiker stresses that his classes and professors have more than adequately prepared him for his post-graduation plans.
“My major has prepared me for a professional setting by forcing me to learn diligence and patience,” he said. “It has also forced me to overcome difficult problems by creating alternative and complex solutions. Beyond this, my schooling here has refined my artistic ability in important areas such as draftsmanship.
“Additionally, my professors have taught me that your mentors can be more than a teacher, but also a friend and a role model. They have pushed me to be the best artist, student and person I can possibly be.”
Katie agrees that her degree has offered valuable insight into her professional career.
“I feel that my major has prepared me for the professional art field in terms of being able to analyze a work of art, notice references throughout history and understand the technique that goes into certain art forms,” she said. “That combined with my psychology classes will make me successful as an art therapist.”
Above all, Katie and Reiker have been inspired by their professors to pursue their dreams.
“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from my professors is that once you find your passion, you should never let it go,” Katie said.
Reiker claims that the unique professor-student relationships personalize the program and push students to succeed against all odds.
“The faculty is among the friendliest in the College, and if you put the work in, your work will improve to a point that may even surprise yourself,” he said.