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Art students become pros for a night

Since 2001, December's Art Walk has featured a mentorship between Laguna College of Art & Design students and local galleries.

November 23, 2011|By Imran Vittachi
  • Laguna College of Art & Design student Heather Patton works on a project in her studio at the school. Patton will showcase her work at Kevin Shoaf's Bluebird Gallery as one of 14 LCAD students who will display their artwork in local galleries for Thursday's Art Walk.
Laguna College of Art & Design student Heather Patton… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

The December installment of the First Thursdays Art Walk will mark a milestone for Robin Fuld, a professor at the Laguna College of Art & Design and its career services director.

Thursday's Art Walk will be the 10th anniversary of a mentorship that she fostered between LCAD and Laguna Beach art galleries.

A decade ago, Fuld ran an art gallery in Laguna Beach and was chatting with Jeannie Denholm, then an LCAD faculty member, about the lack of a formal relationship between Laguna's plethora of galleries and the local campus that trained future artists.

"There didn't seem to be a connection between the galleries in town and the college," Fuld recalled. "We had to do something."

So with Denholm's help, Fuld began a program to bridge that gulf by building a collaboration between LCAD and owners of Laguna art galleries. As a result, on the first Thursday of the 12th month since December 2001, LCAD has been pairing senior fine arts students, who take a class called "Professional Studies," with Art Walk member galleries, which volunteer to exhibit their artwork.

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The class, given in the fall semester of the senior year, teaches the students to develop practical skills and know-how in promoting their art in the real world off campus and prepare them for their professional lives after graduation.

For example, after Fuld assigns a student to a gallery, the student will provide the gallery with an artistic statement, a biography and resume. And, depending on the gallery, students might also learn how to package their artwork for international shipping, sell their work in foreign markets or exhibit it abroad.

"Most of them have never walked into a gallery and talked to the director," said Fuld, who teaches the class and took over for Denholm as its instructor in 2006.

This year, 14 students from Fuld's class will be displaying their work separately at an equal number of galleries in town.

"It's really exciting to be part of the mentoring program," said LCAD senior Jason Umfress, who was busy in his campus studio working on still-life paintings of wood blocks, which he will show at DeRu's Fine Arts gallery.

"Without it I wouldn't know how to interact with a gallery," he added.

Sanja Simidzija, who owns the Art Cube Gallery and the new S Cube Gallery, which opened earlier this month, said she has taken part in the mentorship program for years and plans to continue doing so.

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