10 Questions for our alumni
Heather Murray, BA (Studio Art), 2014
1. Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?
I was always impressed by the outdoors & paths surrounding GVSU. It was affordable and I felt Like I could go for any degree and have a choice from quality programs with outstanding staff and curriculum.
2. How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?
Art was something I fell into after a string of heavy events in my teenage years. It helped heal me in ways I could never have expected. I was able to mold my passions through the skills I learned in each area of art. I fell in love with metal, fire, and color. I was able to take my emotions and create beautiful objects. And in the process my sadness and anger fall away.
3. What advice do you have for future students thinking about colleges?
Don't go to school until you're ready. It's easy to feel burnt out after highschool. Figure out what you like and go for it.
4. What advice do you have for current students thinking about careers?
People in general are worried that they won't be able to find a job in their field after school. And it's when you realize that you have all these skills you gained, you could start your own business, and be your own boss. Part-time jobs are valid, and so is self-employment. There are so many pathways to take.
5. What did you do after graduating?
I was determined to make a living off my art, and my designs. I started teaching classes at different art studios, and traveling around to music festivals to sell my jewelry. It's been a wild ride, but has opened up my world view tremendously.
6. What are you doing now?
I sell my wares at 5 different stores in West Michigan and teach classes at the Hotspot in Grand Rapids. In the summertime I travel all over Michigan to attend art fairs, and community events that center around supporting artists. I am looking at attending grad school next year.
7. How have you used the skills you developed in your field of study in your life and/or career after GVSU?
Without the constant critique and push for growth when I was at Grand Valley I would never have the drive I do today. Self-reflection has been my greatest asset and vice in reaching towards new skill-sets in my craft. Metalsmithing is my main passion, but so many aspects of art are interesting to me. GVSU gave me the education I needed in order to be more well-rounded, not just in the constraints of the art program. Liberal and diverse education has pushed me to pursue greater depth in all sense of my being. Being conscious of the world around you is invaluable, and I am always seeking to learn more.
8. What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley?
Jim Visser- being safe when using power tools or the casting equipment is the most important thing.
9. What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?
The nature walks through the woods to gather mushrooms and inspiration for art.
10. Anything else you would like to share with our Visual and Media Arts Community?
Renee and Beverly Seley made an impact on me that will last a lifetime. I am grateful for their fierce honesty and mentorship daily.
Image Credit: Heather Murray. You can see Heather's work on www.ForestEmporium.net.
Return to the listing of 10 questions for our alumni.