10 Questions for our alumni

Courtney Jones, BFA, Visual Studies, 2014

Courtney Jones, BFA, Visual Studies, 2014

1 - Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?

When I was looking into prospective schools, I actually only visited one... Grand Valley. I enjoyed both the campus and art department, so I just went for it..


2 - How or why did you choose your major or main emphasis area?

During foundations, I enjoyed the intro course CPS (Creative Problem Solving), which pushed me into Visual Studies. I enjoyed the thought process and learning how to see, evaluate, and understand my environment.


3 - What advice do you have for future students thinking about colleges?

Don't trap yourself while figuring out what you want to do. Keep an open mind and avoid narrowing your focus down to one area of interest. Be open to other explorations.


4 - What advice do you have for current students thinking about careers?

Embrace rejection, and learn from it. Be prepared to forge your own path (pun completely intended here.)


5 - What did you do after graduating?

After graduating, I started in a corporate marketing/sales position. It didn't work out and I ended up getting fired. This wasn't surprising because I've always worked best alone and kept my priorities on art. After that, I turned back to making things and pushed to make it work for me. This experience of rejection helped shape the person I am today, as well as the path I chose to follow.


6 - What are you doing now?

I am the owner and creative designer behind two small businesses- Sable + Co. and Dime & Regal. Sable + Co. is a contemporary jewelry + homewares brand that wholesales to stores around the US. Dime & Regal is a storefront on Wealthy Street in Grand Rapids that sells handcrafted goods from local artisans & makers.


7 - How have you used the skills you developed in your field of study in your life and/or career after GVSU?

There are a few skills that immediately come to mind. First of all, I see design in everything and always work to make things the best they can be. Striving for perfection is a direct derivative of art schooling.

Another trait I find invaluable is my ability to think creatively and problem solve. Being self-employed, I’m always looking for ways to be efficient and save- whether that is time, money, materials, etc. Being able to come up with creative solutions helps to manage limited resources and promote a larger return.

Lastly, being able to manage rejection and criticism is another valuable skill I’ve learned in this field. These situations are inevitable and being a trained artist helps one understand how to use those experiences to your advantage.


8 - What is the best advice you got from an instructor at Grand Valley?

“Know when to stop.” This means something different to me now than when it was advised in school. Originally it was referring to not overworking a project, but I now apply it to every aspect of business management.

Being able to delegate how much time & effort you put into each task is vital to keeping a business running. This means you can't get caught up in the details, especially if it may not provide a large enough return.


9 - What is your favorite memory of being a student at Grand Valley?

Honestly, I just loved to learn- if I could have stayed in school forever I would have. I enjoyed all my studio courses, but I also valued my other experiences outside of art. I studied philosophy and participated in athletics, both of which helped me develop a better understanding of what I wanted to do after school.



Image credits: Courtney Jones. Here are some ways you can connect with Courtney in a variety of ways:

View More 10 Questions for our alumni

Page last modified March 12, 2019