10 Questions for our alumni

Cory Anne Hurless, BA, Art History, 2014 and Anthropology Minor

Cory Anne Hurless, BA, Art History, 2014 and Anthropology Minor

1 - Why did you choose to attend Grand Valley?

Their great campus, close to home, state-of-the-art facilities, and they had an art history program


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

I wanted to work in a museum as a curator. After researching what kind of degrees I would need to work in a museum, I decided to take the path towards working in art museums-because I personally found art much more interesting than history or science.


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

Talk to other alumni, ask those who have already graduated (and have a job) for their perspective on their educational experience. Look at where several alumni are working after graduating (not just a few examples- there are always high or low achievers). Also, get a mentor to help advise you on a college choice- preferably someone who is working/in the career you want to be in.


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

Something I wish I had done earlier....search for Facebook Groups that represent "Emerging Professionals" in the career you are thinking of. Scrolling through the comments of recent grads will help you make a choice- you may find out more about the pay ranges for EMPs (how long do you want to live on ramen after college), how hard it can be to break into a particular career (is your career dependent on having several internships, how long have people been searching for a job after school). This kind of information gathering can inform you as to how your first 5 years after graduation may look.


5 - What did you do after graduating?

After going on to get my Masters Degree in History with an emphasis in Museum Studies, I was offered a full-time Curatorial position at the Pearce Museum at Navarro College, Corsicana, Texas. I curated exhibits for their Civil War artifact collection, their 20th Century American Art collection, and their Hunter Gatherer permanent exhibit. I had a "many hats" position, thus additionally I created educational programming for school tours, served as collections manager & registrar, and wrote grants for additional traveling exhibitions.


6 - What are you doing now?

Now I am the Program Manager for Art, Music, & Graphics at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. The airport currently has over $20 million in permanent art on its campus, with another $50 million to be allocated to art in the coming 5 years. I assist with the selection of artists, and project management of large-scale permanent art projects at the airport (I get to interview the big nationally known artists to create art for us), as well as directing the changing exhibits program- where I curate rotating arts and culture exhibits with a Central Texas regional focus (which gives me a lot of satisfaction, helping local artists get the attention they deserve). I also manage the airport's large live music performance program and the graphics/photography division- where I oversee the airport's website and print publications.


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

I continue to use practical information learned in art history and anthropology classes in the selection of artwork/artifacts that end up on display at the airport. Although I was not a studio major, taking art classes at GVSU really helped me to interact more effectively with artists- be confident in my ability to speak to artists about mediums and processes, as well as provide gentle/tactful critiques.


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

To be open and willing to move anywhere — this advice really helped a few years after graduation from GVSU — when it came time to search for a job. I had mentally prepared myself to accept a quality job offer no matter where in the U.S. it came from- this enabled me to find gainful employment far earlier than my colleagues (who did not want to leave the area).


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

Walking around the beautiful campus — in any season it is lovely!



Image credits: Cory Anne Hurless. You can follow Cory on Instagram at @emoartlover.

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Page last modified January 8, 2019