Displaying items by tag: SNAAP

For artists across disciplines, a year confronting COVID-19 illuminated a pressing need to develop and maintain new skills. Suddenly remote interactions, changing performance & exhibition schedules, virtual formats, and increased need for broad coordination were the norm. Both students, and arts alumni alike, found themselves trying to shape-shift to maintain creative momentum.

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP) regularly surveys arts alumni nationwide to learn how graduates are using their education, and what skills prove most essential in the workforce. Since 2008, SNAAP has collected and analyzed data from over 200,000 arts alums.

A recent SNAAP report looked specifically at how COVID-19 impacted the needed skills of arts graduates. Comparing past surveys with interviews specific to the pandemic, researchers found that arts alumni continued to rely on financial and business management, entrepreneurial, and networking skills, a trend well-established in past SNAAP research.

But new needs also became apparent: technological skills and collaboration.

The ArtsForce program at the University of Utah, consistently ahead of the game in anticipating the professional needs of students, was already serving these needs before the data was released.

The SNAAP DataBrief read: “…two broad categories of skill emerged as increasingly relevant compared to pre-pandemic artistic work: technological skills and skills related to interpersonal relationships and working collaboratively…Technological skills were already a requisite for arts alumni. However, this was magnified during the pandemic, with technology mediating interpersonal interactions, work, and making or performing art to a degree not previously experienced.”

It went on to say, “Arts graduates reported that interpersonal relationships and working collaboratively were in high demand during the pandemic.” SNAAP further concluded that “those who developed stronger skills in this area were able to better adjust to the lack of informal, in-person moments for interaction, idea generation, and collaboration that happen more naturally when people are in the same physical space.”

Since its inception in 2013, ArtsForce interns discover and learn to articulate the value of their degree, as well as help connect fellow students to helpful campus resources. Through the program, students are able to not only connect with a broader professional network, but form meaningful connections with their teammates. In any given year, it is worthwhile work that bolsters coursework inside the classroom.

But in a COVID year where isolation was at an all-time high, the program proved invaluable. 

ArtsForce intern Cassandra Webb said, "I'm very glad that I got accepted into the ArtsForce internship during 2020. It gave me a reason to reach out to people and continue learning when the pandemic was making that nearly impossible otherwise.” 

Here are the ways ArtsForce pivoted last year, making use of available technology and putting collaboration at the center of their work:

  • Networking on Instagram Live
    In place of an in-person annual networking event, ArtsForce took the innovative route of interviewing CFA alumni and current students on Instagram Live. Over the course of several days, student followers learned about artists from their community, and expanded their networks using social media. The event also gave ArtsForce interns live interviewing experience, as well as experience producing virtual events specifically for social platforms.
  • Informational Interviewing through videoAFzoomArtsForce Interns (clockwise): Kaitlin Kerr-Osman, Bennett Blake, Cayden Turnbow, Katie McLaughlin, Pablo Cruz-Ayala, Kira Sincock
    Where students might often ask professionals for in-person meetups to conduct informational interviews in order learn more about various potential career paths, COVID-19 made these opportunities tricky. ArtsForce asked professionals to meet over Zoom instead, and kept the momentum going on virtual interviews that proved valuable for students and connected them to the community at large.
  • Bringing alumni into the picture
    Throughout the year, ArtsForce collaborated and connected with CFA alumni. Working with the Fine Arts Ambassadors, ArtsForce helped host a series of professional development panels that were open to all students from across disciplines. Interns also attended quarterly meetings of the young board, to promote their events, seek guidance, and develop relationships with alums.
  • Making the most of Zoom
    Though most of ArtsForce’s work had to take place virtually, the group worked to make the most of the Zoom platform to develop authentic relationships with one another. They began each meeting with an ice breaker question before jumping into business, and used breakout rooms to work in smaller groups.

"ArtsForce has allowed me to explore my interests and gain experience in the things I am interested in. I have learned more about social media and event planning and organizing. I’ve also learned more about networking and reaching out to professionals which will help me already have connections upon graduation and meet more people in my field."
-Kaitlin Kerr-Osman

"Being a part of ArtsForce during COVID was a valuable experience because it taught me the importance of being able to pivot. Everybody on the team got the opportunity to make valuable contributions and it felt like a community." 
Bennett Blake

"My internship gave me a sense of community in multiple ways. With my team, I gained friendships and leaned on others during “zoom fatigue."  With my assignments and programming, I connected with my college, both within and outside of my area of study. I served my learning community while strengthening my professional one. Meeting arts professionals with an array of backgrounds will change the trajectory of my college and post-college career."
- Katie McLaughlin

"This past year I have had the chance to plan projects and events from start to finish. I think that the experience I have had during the video projects will be especially useful for the work that I would like to go into after I graduate. I also know how to approach professionals for help, which is something that I felt discouraged from in my previous work. I think what will be most helpful is the knowledge of the variety of people needed in the arts world. Going into this internship, I assumed that I needed to show artistic skill and a mastery of my craft if I wanted to have any chance of working in the arts, but after meeting people who are event and gallery coordinators, I am confident that I will have a hand in making art available to others in one way or another during my career."
- Cassandra Webb

"One of the biggest skills I gained from ArtsForce that I know will help me the most after I leave the CFA is the importance of team building and the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively. In the arts, it’s so important to recognize the creativity of those you’re working with and be able to navigate difficult situations or controversial ideas with an open mind. Along with that, it’s important to take risks and try different things. ArtsForce helped me open my creative mind and build on the skills that are necessary as I start a career after college. Because of ArtsForce, I have the skills to plan and execute events, work effectively with a team, collaborate with artists, grow my network, market my art, and communicate my ideas successfully."
- Merinda Christensen

"ArtsForce has served as an incredibly valuable part of my college experience and has prepared me for my professional career in the arts.  One of the most important skills was learning how to develop and continue meaningful relationships with professionals, and garner a passion for learning about their career through informational interviews.  I've gained skills that are helpful for working on a team, such as organization, communication, and time management.  Ultimately, a lot of the skills I've gotten from ArtsForce are transferable to a variety of different fields and positions, which helps me feel more prepared for wherever my future takes me." 
-Kira Sincock

For more on ArtsForce and to get connected to professional development resources in the College of Fine Arts, visit artsforceutah.com. 

Published in Finer Points Blog

The Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), a national arts data and research organization, has collected and analyzed data from over 200,000 arts graduates from across North America since 2008. SNAAP data have helped change the national conversation on the value of an arts degree. The U College of Fine Arts regularly partners in SNAAP's efforts in surveying our own graduates and we are grateful to our alumni who have participated. Each survey gives us deeper insight into how best to serve our students. 

Recently, SNAAP released a special report examining what factors lead arts graduates to stay in the arts throughout their professional careers. The report clearly revealed that students are more likely to work professionally in the arts if they have created a network and completed an arts-based internship during their time in school. 

This is not news to us. We have long known the value of internships and professional networks and this data just further confirms our understanding of what students need to successfully transition in the arts! The College of Fine Arts continually invests in developing a strong internship program and providing opportunities and information to maximize professional success of our students, from experiential learning opportunities to building professional networks. Since 2012, the CFA has hired student interns to learn about various aspects of arts administration and strengthen their professional networks. And in 2013, interns assisted in the creation of our award-winning ArtsForce program. 

We encourage you to get to know your many professional resources.


Here are just a few of the ways CFA invests in student success and professional development:


Full-time CFA Internship Coordinator

In partnership with the CFA Undergraduate Student Affairs team and the University’s Internship Council, our full-time Internship Coordinator, Kate Wolsey, facilitates the development and expansion of internships, acts as the college’s primary contact for internship coordination, and assists in the coordination of the award-winning ArtsForce program. 


Career Treks to local and regional arts organizations

During the academic year, ArtsForce leads regular Career Treks to prominent local and regional arts organizations so students can meet arts professionals in their work environments, and experience firsthand the day-to-day operations and innerworkings of fine arts companies. 


Employment and internship opportunities  

Our Internship Coordinator regularly meets with employers to create opportunities and promote internships in the community. Open opportunities are shared with students through a weekly post on the ArtsForce Canvas community. All internships are vetted using the National Association of College and Employers (NACE) standards.


Helping students articulate the value of their degree

In the ArtsForce Canvas community, we regularly post relevant information that helps students articulate the value of their arts degree, become internship ready and learn how to network. Such topics include, how to conduct an informational interview, resources for improving your resumé and cover letter, ways to get involved in the art community on and off campus, and connecting students with mentors in their field. Check out all the past programs and events here! 

Informational Interviews with community professionals

“ArtsForce Asks” is a Finer Points blog series that highlights informational interviews conducted by ArtsForce interns with arts professionals. This series aims to provide CFA students with internship and career advice from the employer’s perspective, and illuminate the varied paths to success artists take.   

Annual Networking Event 

ArtsForce hosts an Annual Networking event that brings arts employers to campus, giving students a chance to network, receive professional guidance, ask questions, and connect with fellow CFA students across disciplines.


Student interns reflect and share their experiences  

Once students complete internships, we are eager to share their advice with their peers. Starting this fall, “Insights from an Intern,” a new Finer Points blog series, will highlight exceptional internship experiences of CFA students, as well as their advice for students seeking similar opportunities. Check out the first student profile here!


Published in Finer Points Blog
October 05 2017

Alumni: Oh, SNAAP!

By Marina Gomberg

Did you study in the arts at the University of Utah? Then we need you! Well, SNAAP actually needs you. That’s the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, and they’re conducting their massive nationwide survey of arts alumni.

This is the second time we have partnered with SNAAP to help us better understand not just the experience of arts alumni across the nation, but those specifically who studied here with us at the University of Utah in the College of Fine Arts.

We participated three years ago and gleaned fascinating information about the success of our alumni in their work both in and out of the arts. From that data, we learned what we have been doing well and what training and experience our former students wish they had gotten more of while they were with us. It has impacted the breadth and depth of various curricular and programmatic offerings, and we’re thirsty to learn more.

So, we’re just giving you a heads up. SNAAP is going to contact you with a survey, and we would be most appreciative if you’d open that email!

Thanks in advance; we know you are busy and we so value your time and opinion.

(Not sure if we have your current email address, but want to be able to participate? (Update your information here.)

Published in Finer Points Blog
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