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This fall Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) will host a weekend retreat that provides female student-artists with knowledge and skills necessary for success in the professional world.

“Closing the Gap: Professional Practices for Women in the Visual Arts” will be held Nov. 13-15 in Clayton, N.Y., located in the Thousand Islands region. Made possible by a gift from the estate of Bethea S. Owen ’43, an artist and alumna of VPA, the all-expenses-paid retreat is designed to provide juniors, seniors and graduate students in the college’s School of Art, School of Design and Department of Transmedia with tips, tools and techniques to advance their careers, whether their next steps are to find gainful employment or start their own businesses.

"In the College of Visual and Performing Arts we strive to prepare students to excel in their chosen academic fields and beyond. However, we recognize there is always room for improvement,” says Katherine Arts ’15, the retreat’s organizer and a VPA alumna. “Thanks to this generous gift, we are able to offer a retreat aimed at polishing the professional practices of 30 young women in our college. We will use the results of this retreat to help inform the development of future programs.”

The weekend’s agenda will include experienced and influential keynote speakers, including artists Ann Hirsch G'10, Yara El-Sherbini and VPA Dean Ann Clarke; workshops on resume building, mock interviews, budget building, social media management and grant writing; a professional etiquette dinner; and the opportunity to network with alumni and professionals. Activities such as a river lunch cruise and ballroom dancing will also be included. The weekend will conclude with a panel of young professionals who received art degrees sharing the stories and struggles of their unexpected career paths.

how to apply

Juniors, seniors and graduate students in the School of Art, School of Design and Department of Transmedia who wish to attend the retreat must apply by submitting a resume, contact information for three personal references and a cover letter explaining why they wish to attend and what they feel they could learn to by Friday, Oct. 9.

Beginning Oct. 10, juniors, seniors and graduate students in the Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies may apply by submitting the information requested above.

For more information about the retreat, contact Katherine Arts at