Young At Art: ADC Hosts Saturday Career Workshops for New York High Schools

Saturday Career Workshops at the ADCAlec Brownstein teaches the students about personal branding.

For the past five Saturdays, the ADC Gallery has hosted a group of 40+ up-and-coming creatives, eager to learn and take a bite out of this industry. This series of career workshops is a partnership between the Art Directors Club and the School Art League.

These high school students have traveled far and wide from every borough of New York. They’re primarily junior-year students, with varying backgrounds and socioeconomic surroundings. Some have a natural flair for fine arts, while others are barely scratching the surface of this “journey into the unknown” we call a creative career.

But there’s one thing these students have in common: they’re hungry.

Students build an exquisite corpse at the ADC40 high school students collaborate on a massive “exquisite corpse” at the ADC Gallery.

Each Saturday at the ADC, the students get a taste of a different side of the business. One week, copywriter/director Alec Brownstein taught them about personal branding, and how to position oneself effectively to potential employers.

Alec also showed the students how to ‘tweak the system’ and get their names out there in unique ways – sharing his own example of The Google Job Experiment, where he bought Google Adwords of specific creative directors’ names, so that when they searched for themselves they would land on Alec’s portfolio. The experiment cost him a total of $6, and ultimately scored him a job at Y&R.

During another Saturday, Young Guns 8 winner Rich Tu illustrated the breadth of opportunities there are for a designer outside of typical ad agency jobs. Rich shared some examples of clothing he has designed for North Face, editorial illustrations he’s done for The New York Times, and a new iPhone app that he co-founded.

Rich then engaged the whole group in a gigantic “exquisite corpse” project, covering the ADC Gallery with butcher block paper and allowing the students to flex their creative muscles in a massive collaborative art piece. Afterward, he went around the room to each section and encouraged the students to present the thinking behind their work. The result was not only an impressive mural – but also, many of the shy students came out of their shells.

Rich Tu working on an exquisite corpseDesigner/Illustrator and Young Guns 8 winner, Rich Tu, teaches from the ground up.

“I was really impressed with the students’ willingness to create freely,” Rich Tu said. “One of the biggest hurdles at that stage is being comfortable enough to express yourself with a distinct voice. As I was reviewing the final pieces, I could see a lot of clear and decisive choices being made. The potential was very palpable.”

The workshop culminates with College Day, a chance for the students to meet with representatives from various art schools in the region, have their portfolios reviewed, and think about which path they may want to take. In attendance were the School of Visual Arts (SVA), New York Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, Fashion Institute of Design, and Parsons School of Design.

College Day at the ADCSix colleges and universities came into the ADC to scope out the up-and-coming talent.

The face-to-face feedback is invaluable, and gives the students a rare chance to see what the culture is like behind the brochure.

Edward Morgano, long time partner in the program and School Art League Trustee, said, “The Art Directors Club Saturday Art Career Program uniquely complements the art education curriculum in New York City high schools. By partnering with The School Art League and the Department of Education, students study with graphic designers, in a professional environment, who conduct workshops and share their expertise and career experiences.”

School Art League Trustee Edward MorganoEd Morgano, a partner in the Saturday Career Workshops and Trustee of the School Art League, addresses the students and their parents on College Day.

Morgano continued, “This extraordinary opportunity provides valuable hands-on experiences that challenge, empower and help prepare young artists for a career in visual arts. It is a vital link between classroom instruction and current industry practices.”

Not to mention, the students get all the free pastries, fruit, coffee and juice they can handle. They are treated like adults – a refreshing change from their day-to-day schooling.

“The ADC is proud to partner with the School Art League for the tenth year in a row to host the Saturday Career Workshop Series,” says Brendan Watson, Director of Education at the Art Directors Club. “It is part of our ongoing mission to create educational opportunities for everyone who walks into the club. We should never stop learning.”

For more information about attending next year’s workshop as a participant or a leader, contact:

Brendan Watson
Director of Education
Art Directors Club