The Career Resource Center and the New Paltz School of Fine and Performing Arts are teaming up over the course of the Spring 2021 semester to present ArtsChats, a series of interviews taking place over the course of February and March.
ArtsChats will include several sessions broadcast over the New Paltz Career Resource Center’s Instagram. Each session has a different SUNY New Paltz Fine and Performing Arts alum speaking to students regarding their career post-graduation. Current students are welcome to log onto sessions and participate in Q&A with the alumni.
The upcoming ArtsChats event will take place on Friday, March 5 at 12 p.m. Speaking at this event will be Alejandra Salinas Pérez, an alumni from the class of 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in metal. Salinas Pérez currently resides in San Antonio, Texas.
“Alejandra Salinas is a metalsmith and emerging curator, born in the United States and raised in Mexico. Standing between two cultures, she combines her personal history with a contemporary perspective, translating her experiences into metal objects and jewelry. Her work explores boundaries, both physical and conceptual, as she attempts to materialize a sense of resilience and hope,” her website states.
Her pieces have been displayed in several exhibitions — including Denizen and Anonymous Jewelry during New York City Jewelry Week — and selected for inclusion at the Enamelist Society exhibition Alchemy 5. Salinas Pérez was the 2019-20 Artist-in-Residence at the Southwest School of Craft.
Salinas Pérez seeks to encourage current and future New Paltz Fine and Performing Arts students to make connections with their peers and teachers. She endeavours that students “have to be creative, and [they] have to find the right people that are going to be [their] support system, because the professors outside of school are super supportive.”
She also discussed the ways her teachers from SUNY New Paltz helped prepare her for the workforce so she knew exactly what to expect from employers. Her current employment finds her curating exhibits.
Salinas Pérez spoke about a class that stuck out to her as being helpful both when submitting and receiving her work.
“There’s a class taught by Professor Susan Stokes which is a BFA seminar … It’s like one of your last semester classes. It seems like a lot of work, but all of that work that she tells you that you need to prepare really comes back,” Salinas Pérez said. “When I look at an artist’s work, all of what she taught me that I had to have, they send. When we, the gallery owner and the gallery manager, look at it, and it’s not in the package that’s expected, it’s not somebody that will look forward to working with again anymore.”
During her ArtsChats, Salinas Pérez intends to discuss the importance of applying for scholarships and taking advantage of being a student. She admitted that she did not apply for many scholarships until her senior year at SUNY New Paltz because she assumed that she would not be selected as a recipient due to the large number of students applying.
However, she stated that applying for many scholarships and taking advantage of the ones she received helped her make connections with other artists and has significantly benefited her in the long run. She also suggested that students take advantage of student discount prices while they have the opportunity to.
“When you leave school, you have to start paying full price for a lot of things like societies or conventions. But while you’re in school, you get a break, you get to be the student. It’s a lot lower,” Salinas Pérez said.
Her final words of wisdom for current students was to create bonds with their professors and maintain those connections.
“It really helps in keeping in touch with your professors because [I] wouldn’t be talking to you if my professor hadn’t dropped my name to somebody.”
To attend the ArtsChats, visit the Career Resource Center’s Instagram page, @npcareers, on March 5 at 12 p.m.
To check out Salinas Pérez’s work, view her Instagram, @alejandrasalinasperez, and her website, www.alejandra-salinas.com.