Academy of Art University welcomed art and design industry leaders to its annual Spring Show on May 21, 2020. The Spring Show is an art and design exhibition that shows the best student work from all of Academy of Art University’s 22 schools. This spans across a wide range of industries and mediums including video game design, car models, sculptures, and painting to name a few.
This year’s iteration makes history as it is exclusively being held online for the first time since its inception. Through this event, Academy and other guest students, leaders, faculty members, educators, and community members get to enjoy and be inspired by the hard work and accomplishments of the graduating students.
But more than that, the Spring Show opens the door to various opportunities for the students to make the most out of, by building and expanding their own professional network in their chosen industries. Ultimately, that’s what the Spring Show really is all about: to showcase the astounding creative skills of the Academy students through their masterpieces, which then prove that indeed, they are ready to face up to the challenges of working in the real industry. That they are not only creative and talented, they are also skilled and highly employable, thanks to their Academy training.
Spring Show’s Role for Academy of Art University Students
The Spring Show is one of the largest career-building events hosted by Academy of Art University, combining incredible student works across all of its schools in one grand exhibition. It opens opportunities for students to network with industry-leading companies like Laika, Nissan, Tesla, Nike, Mattel, Louis Vuitton, Blue Sky Studios, Riot Games, Chronicle Books and Blizzard.
It also fosters a sense of community among the students, giving them opportunities to connect and network with each other as well. Alpha Sheth, an MFA Jewelry and Metal Arts student shared how it has allowed students to appreciate all the hard work involved. “Spring Show is exciting because it’s presenting the work that you’ve worked hard on and you’ve spent nights and days working on People are coming to see it! It boosts your confidence and elevates your artistic sense.”
Juan M. Corredor, an MFA Graphic Design student, mentioned the value of learning from fellow students across all disciplines. “You can see the different levels of design. Different classmates have different talents… it’s helpful when you come and look at all their work and you get inspired as well.”
Alumni Success Stories
With this unique opportunity, dozens of Academy of Art University students have found success through professional networking and connections.
Art director and illustrator Kristal Lauk was impressed by the student work she saw at a Spring Show event a few years ago. Because of the projects she saw on exhibit, she decided to take an illustration degree at Academy of Art University, which she earned from the School of Illustration in 2015.
Her Spring Show experience involves being selected to present at the event. She was then invited to the Industry Night, where all kinds of potential clients and companies come to view student work, as well as interact with the students themselves. Chuck Pyle, Director of School of Illustration, connected Kristal with Facebook to set up an interview, which ended up giving her an opportunity to work for the tech company.
She has since been running her own agency, Kristal Lauk Studios, specializing in motion graphics, illustration, and design. Other work experiences include Lead Illustrator for the Google Play UX tecfam, and team member of Uber, Intercom, and the New York Times.
Crysta Frost was the School of Game Development valedictorian in Spring 2017. At the Spring Show, she met the art director to 2K Games and got an opportunity to present her work. A few hours later, he called her and set up an interview. Upon graduating, she received a job offer from 2k Games, thanks to that window of opportunity she grabbed at Spring Show.
Today, Crysta is a technical artist who works on the animation and rigging aspects of building the internal skeletons of game characters that are later used by the animators. She credits her time in the Academy of Art University for helping her successfully pivot to a career in game development, saying, “I can’t go without saying how my career [has been] impacted by the amazing education that I received at the Academy, my teachers and mentors there have been instrumental in my success.”
Career, Confidence, and Success
Spring Show showcases the importance of networking and aiming to build a career for post-graduate life. Academy of Art University has a long-running relationship with industry leaders, providing a platform of opportunities to connect with students in high-profile art and design companies. This year, the Academy is providing students with an interactive online platform where they can connect with recruiters at companies around the globe and receive feedback on their portfolios via Zoom.
In addition, Academy of Art University’s Career Services Department, which recently doubled its resources to fortify student’s employment, is available to assist students with anything they could need for the start of their careers by working with executives, recruiters, and creative leaders. They guide students every step of the way through creating and editing resumes, cover letters, references, and informational interviews. They also work to achieve partnerships with companies, artists, and designers across all majors. Every semester, the Academy hosts partners for panels, company presentations, lectures, mock interviews, guest speaker workshops, and portfolio review sessions.
Industry Professionals Are Receptive to Get Involved
In addition to students finding success and connections through Spring Show, many industry professionals are eager to share a common creative mindset. With many notable industry leaders involved, Academy of Art University has proven itself to be uniquely positioned. Dave Markowitz, a Lead Animator at Jam City boasted about the experience, saying, “I come to Spring Show every year. There are such diverse skill sets here that I have never seen in any other school. We are looking for people who stand out and games that stand out, and Spring Show is the best place to actually find all of. It just blows my mind how creative everybody is here.”
Among the over 135 accredited degree plans offered at Academy of Art University, the School of Industrial Design offers specialized, hands-on programs for students to work with major automobile companies including Volvo, Jaguar, and Subaru. Andre Frey of Mercedes Benz Advanced Design praised Spring Show, “We look at Academy of Art University as one of the premier design schools especially on the west coast and we’re always trying to have close ties with those schools and find talent for our future design programs.”