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Kalamazoo College

Sam Gleason

Studio Art

Berkley, MI
Studio Art
Art History
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Green Tea
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 15 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Understanding of how to think visually will greatly help any subject you’re studying.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
I had originally planned to be a double major in studio art and math, but where math didn’t resonate with me, the art department did. I’ve always felt at home here and my professors have really helped me grow as an artist.

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Don’t be afraid if you’re unable to get into some classes at first. I wasn’t able to take basic drawing until I was a sophomore and I’m still going to graduate in four just fine. Instead, explore and try something you’ve ever done before. I loved Object Investigation even though 3D isn’t my strong suit.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
I often joke that I live in the Fine Arts Building, since I’m highly involved in both studio and history classes. But on top of that I also do wardrobe for the theater department, which started when I took costuming and makeup my sophomore year so I could learn to sew. Art is pretty important to me in my life, and my main personal hobbies involve drawing digitally for myself as well as knitting.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
You’re going to meet a lot of people in your time here. Some you’ll get along with, others you won’t, and others still may become close friends. The luxury of small schools means immersing yourself in people who will influence you to broaden your scope. Thanks to my friends I’ve tried philosophy courses, dabbled in the theater department, participated in Frelon (our school’s dance show), and hiked around the arboretum. If you’re worried about trying new things, meet people who will make new subjects more approachable.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
I would say Art and Gender (ARTX290) was probably my favorite course I’ve ever taken a K. I took this course in my winter of sophomore year after only one other art history course I had taken in fall (Survey I). That course’s class dynamic was one of the best I’d ever experienced for group discussion, and I took so much away from the course. I learned about artists I’d never heard before, and in general got a better understanding of modern artists I’m not sure I would have gotten at another school. Art and Gender was so great for me that I kept taking higher level art history courses, and decided to add art history as my minor.

What is your SIP?
I’ll being doing a studio SIP in painting. It’s not solidified yet, but I’m interested in doing portraiture related to photos in my family album, while trying to explore myself and my heritage.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
My plans are still open-ended, but I may pursue my Master of Fine Arts or get a teaching degree at Eastern Michigan University. Career-wise I would love to work in illustration, or work as a designer for a theater company.

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