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Arts Day welcomes prospective 'Thriving Artists' to Oxford

"As dean, I have banned the term 'starving artist.' We don't say it here! It's not allowed!"

Liz Mullenix, Dean of Miami's College of Creative Arts (CCA), prefers to refer to her students as "thriving artists."

With a 95 percent student placement rate in jobs or graduate school within one year of graduating, Miami's art students are hardly starving.

In the Arts Day audience of about 100 prospective Miami students and their parents, there were nods, chuckles and sighs of relief.

Arts Day is CCA's annual recruitment event for high school students in grades 10-12. It is an opportunity for prospective students and their families to visit campus, explore Miami's various art programs and meet CCA faculty.

"We knew a bunch about Miami, but not a lot about this particular field, so I feel like we learned a lot," said Ruthie Galberg, a high school junior from New Lebanon, Ohio.

Ruthie has had a love for photography since she got her first camera in 7th grade. She recently started her own senior portrait business and takes photos of animals at her local shelter to help them get adopted.

She has two older sisters who are current students at Miami, one studying business and the other studying education.

Despite being familiar with the university and having visited campus before, it wasn't until Arts Day that Ruthie discovered Miami's photography program.

"She came in here interested in communication design, and then after talking to the photography professor she's thinking maybe she might be more interested in that, so it was a great opportunity to talk in-depth with him about the program," Ruthie's mother, Beth Galberg, said.

In addition to learning more about the programs that the CCA offers, students could attend various sessions based on their area of interest, such as architecture and interior design, theatre, art, art education, art and architecture history and interactive media studies.

From there, they could meet faculty, tour the facilities, talk to current students and have their portfolio reviewed by a staff member in a one-on-one session. A portfolio submission and/or audition is required for students who wish to major in the various areas of study within the CCA.

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"We want their portfolio to not be a hindrance for them, and I want them to feel confident that they know what to do and what the rules are," CCA professor Tracy Featherstone said. "The biggest mistake I see students doing is that they may have taken a photography class in high school and then only try to submit photography in their portfolio and we try to encourage them to at least round it out a little bit."

Arts Day is not only a major day for recruiting prospective students but a day for CCA to gain exposure in general.

"The College of Creative Arts is for all of our arts majors," said CCA Associate Dean John Weigand. "But really we want to be out there for all Miami students. Come see a play, come see a class, come study abroad with us, all of that."