Alumni Spotlight: Karolina Beveridge
Karolina Beveridge is a 2013 graduate of Providence Christian College. Originally from Prescott Valley, AZ, Karolina has been studying and creating art for her master’s degree at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.
Why the Art Center?
It has one of the top MFA programs in the country and many of the artists I am interested in graduated from or are somehow affiliated with Art Center. It also has a small graduate fine art program, with only about 30 students, so you really connect with your peers and teachers. The fact that Providence is a small school was something I loved about it, so I am drawn to this in Art Center as well. From the moment I learned about Art Center and what it was, I wanted to go there.
What type of art have you been studying?
At Art Center, you are not required to focus on one medium, such as sculpture, drawing, painting, etc. Many students do some of all of it, or at least try out a lot of different ways to make art. When I got to Art Center, I had mostly done drawing and painting. Since then, I have done some painting, some video work, and sculpture. The directions I am interested in now are performance and sculpture using “non-art” materials. In my classes, I have been learning about the process of making art, ephemeral art, critiquing art, and so on.
What did the Art Center look at in determining whether to accept you or not? Related to that, what should aspiring art school students be working on while they are in undergrad?
Art Center looked at my application and my portfolio. In the application I was asked to describe my current work, future work and artistic influences, as well as describe pieces within my portfolio.
I would give aspiring art students the advice I received. In the art classes at Providence, the teacher, Professor Chadwick, told us to go to as many art exhibits and openings as possible. This is something that I am still learning to do to the extent that I should, and is important for any aspiring artist to commit to. Professor Chadwick would also mention names of artists for me to look up as we were talking about my work. This happens every day at Art Center as well and is helpful because when you see someone who has art work that you connect with, there is a lot you can learn from what they do and how they do it. Other advice that was suggested to me was to read contemporary art magazines, such as Art in America and Art Forum. This is important to become familiar with how artists and critics talk about art and what sorts of conversations are relevant in the art world right now. Besides all this, an aspiring art school student should of course make art and build a cohesive portfolio. Have high-quality documentation of your work so you can use it for your portfolio.
Did your degree from Providence have a negative impact on your application process?
Not at all. If anything, my experience at Providence had a positive impact. At Providence, I learned to think critically about what I was learning and reading, and to write and speak about that. Critical thinking and writing were both components of the Art Center application.
The location of Providence, being close to Los Angeles, was a huge advantage because LA is where some of the most important art of today is located. Students at Providence have access to art museums such as the Norton Simon, the Armory, LACMA, MOCA, the Hammer, the Getty, the Huntington, as well as galleries in Culver City, to name a few. Being familiar with some of the art in these museums was a benefit when writing my application.
Another benefit was getting my liberal arts degree. The program at Providence teaches students that knowledge is interconnected. My concentrations were theology and biblical languages, and through these I learned that my worldview impacts everything I do; from reading, eating food, and looking at art to loving others. I learned how to look at all art, including art that challenges my worldview or is uncomfortable. I learned to engage and be a participant in the culture of LA and why that is important in the first place.
How did Providence’s classes prepare you to further your education?
In the classes I took at Providence, I learned that knowledge is freedom and how to think critically about everything I learned. This education taught me how to be a Christian in the world of today while remaining biblically grounded. Having a foundation like that gave me a curiosity and longing to learn and understand more and more. After graduating from Providence, I felt like I had to continue my education; there was nothing I wanted to do more.
That being said, the art classes available at Providence had a major impact in preparing me for furthering my education in art. The art teacher at Providence, Professor Chadwick, went to Art Center so having him as a teacher was especially helpful in getting into this school. Without those classes, I do not believe I would have developed my work and my ability to talk about it to the degree that was necessary to become a graduate MFA candidate.