Art students prep for future

By Jennifer Ramolt, Arts & Life Writer

UA’s art department is introducing a new course called “The Boston Mills Experience.” This education crash course teaches students how to succeed in the artistic field.

The course began with Associate Professor Sherry Simms, who oversaw a group of 12 students participating in the Boston Mills Artfest last year. The fine crafts and art show has been running at Boston Mills Brandywine for 43 years, each year offering food, drink, and opportunities for emerging artists to break into the business.

When Simms volunteered for the event, she noted that it could be considered a very valuable and fun learning opportunity.

“The main comment was the students wished they had more time to prepare,” said Simms. “It was a lot of work for both the students and myself. When we were asked to exhibit again this year, I proposed to do this under a class so that there was time to produce the artwork needed and other preparations like booth display. While the students also earned credit.”

After graduating with a BFA, Simms spent four years traveling the country selling jewelry at high end arts and crafts fairs, one of which was Boston Mills. She experienced what it takes to start an art production business.

Simms is committed to preparing her students for their own careers after graduation. She hopes to expose them to elements of business such as marketing, branding, pricing, and sale of artwork through a variety of outlets.

“This class… gives [students] experience in designing and creating artwork in multiples that are specifically geared towards selling. Students also explore a variety of options for branding and marketing their work; build a website; create business cards; learn to talk to customers about their work; create packaging for their work; and create a booth display. All of this happens during the course of the semester and then the final component is actually displaying and selling their work during the 2015 Boston Mills Artfest in Peninsula Ohio,” Simms said.

For art students who find “The Boston Mills Experience” appealing, Simms is willing to teach the class as long as Boston Mills continues to invite UA to participate in Artfest.