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VCUarts seniors graduate to a quickly evolving world of work

While the phrase “starving artist” has been used to describe those who choose to attempt to earn a living in the arts, graduates of Virginia Commonwealth University’s top-ranked Arts School are anticipating something quite different. Three such students share their thoughts about what it means to pursue professional endeavors as artists.

The plans are as varied as the individuals. Winston plans to seek studio-based contract work, using training in communications arts. Shayne Herrera, with a painting and printmaking degree, hopes to trek to the west coast and exhibit in a respected, Black-owned gallery. Noren Gelberg-Hagmaier is skilled in kinetic imagery and sculpture and has long-term goals of becoming a gallery artist while in the short-term, working outside the field to make a living. All three of these soon-to-be alumni of VCU speak on the need to make art more accessible and to have artistic expression become more commonplace for everyone. They say not all art needs to be marketable and that the non-monetary rewards can be great for those who make art and for those who experience art as spectators.