At the end of the academic year, CCAD deans present the Outstanding Seniors for their divisions. Today, in part five of our 10-part Outstanding Senior series, meet Fine Arts major Erin McKenna.
Q) What was your proudest achievement while at CCAD?
A) It would probably be the student critique group I organized. We meet once a week to critique each other’s work. We have about 15 students come down, ranging from freshmen to seniors. It is neat that they all come together during their free time and do it to become better and learn more. My goal with the group was to help underclassman talk and learn about their work outside of a classroom setting and without faculty or instructors to help them become more at ease.
Q) What scared you the most while you were at CCAD?
A) My very first day of class. I remember I had Color Concepts, and I sat in the very back of the classroom and didn’t say a word. I didn’t know anyone and I was so nervous, which is the opposite from today. Now I sit in the front and talk to everyone around me. My time here has definitely brought me out of my shell and made me more social and confident.
Q) What are your plans after graduation?
A) Right now I work as a graphic designer for a local organization, so I know I will continue working there. I have applied to four residencies and plan on applying to three more. I would like to find a studio around Columbus so I can have the space to keep making art. Down the road I know I want to continue my studies and get an MFA.
Q) What is your ultimate dream job or goal?
A) I want to be able to teach college courses in Fine Arts. I would love to be able to teach fulltime and continually make and show my work.
Q)Why is it important as an alumna to continue to give back to CCAD?
A) CCAD is changing a lot, and a lot of people are starting to lean towards a design and business mindset, so I think it is important to continue to support the Fine Arts department here and make sure they keep kicking out the awesome work that they have been doing.
Q) Do you remember a single moment when you sat back and said, “This is why I am doing this?”
A) That moment definitely occurred during the New York Residency Program. When I studied there it was probably the hardest critiques I have been through. At one point I said I was done making art, but I got past it and realized all those struggles were worth it. I think the realization that this is what I want to be doing was cemented at that moment.
Q) What smell, object, place, or whatever will always remind you of your time here as a student?
A) The studios in AMF. I spent a lot of time up there studying, working, and hanging out with friends.
Q) What will you miss the most?
A) I will miss my friends that I made here. I had a very strong support group. I’ll also miss the resources available and being able to walk into the library and wood shop whenever I needed the resources and space.
Q) If you can describe what graduating feels like in one word what would it be?
A) Terrifying. It is terrifying to think I am done with school, for a while at least. When I graduate I won’t need to go to school anymore and that’s terrifying. I love everything about school and CCAD—the facilities, teachers, just everyone.
Q) What was your favorite class at CCAD?
A) My sculpture classes, the ones taught by Michael Goodson and Matthew Flegle. I really think the teachers really made those classes for me. They were supportive and would answer any questions I had, and I learned a lot from them.
Q) During your free time what would you do?
A) I would always schedule free time for myself so I could travel. I love New York, so I would try to get out there once every other month and stay with friends in Brooklyn.
Q) What is your fondest memory of CCAD?
A) My group of friends and hanging out with them. It doesn’t matter where we were, whether it was the studio or a party, I value that time with them.
Q) If you could change anything about your undergraduate experience, what would it be?
A) I have a laundry list of things I would have liked to do. I would have loved to been able to read more about different philosophies and artists and especially contemporary art. I would have also challenged myself more and worked more in areas that scared me and were outside my comfort zone.
Q) What advice would you give to future CCAD students?
A) I would tell them to read and challenge themselves. The only way to get out of a comfort zone or not be scared to do something is to go out and do it. Don’t be scared or cautious of what people may think or say about your work, just do what you want to do.
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