Arts and Education Career Fair exposes young artists to opportunities

Published 5:20 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It was far from a typical day at Arts of the Pamlico last Friday, as more than 100 local middle school and high school students got a taste of what it takes to build a career based around art.

During the second annual Arts Education and Career Fair, these young aspiring artists had the chance to speak and interact with more than 20 professional artists and education partners about how they can take that next step with their art.

“This is something we encourage the kids to embrace and follow,” AOP Weekend Coordinator Crystal Holman said. “We believe having something that you’re passionate about will overall make your life more fulfilled … There are people out there that are destined to paint beautiful things, sculpt beautiful things and dance beautifully and accent the world and make people’s lives better through that.”

From painting and pottery to music, dance and writing, professional artists of all persuasions were on hand to offer advice on both their crafts and what it takes to make it as a professional artist.

“These teachers brought kids who have different interests in art,” Beaufort County Schools Curriculum Director Ashley Paggett said. “A lot of these kids didn’t know that there is a way to make a living in our community with their passion for art. They’re enjoying talking to the artists who are here.”

A special guest for the event, Nashville-based recording artist Caroline Dare shared some of her music on stage. At 17 years old, Dare is not much older than the students who attended and has recently signed to tour with Fleetwood Mac. Dare also got her start playing at Music in the Streets, downtown Washington’s former mini-music festival held once a month from April to October.

Driving home the local impact of the arts on the Washington economy, students also enjoyed a screening of the documentary “The Colors of Money,” a short film produced by Washington High School students with assistance from Bath resident and UNC-TV documentarian Clay Johnson. Students with a mind for film had the chance to speak with both Johnson and East Carolina University film professor Erick Green.

Rounding out the event, educators from Beaufort County Community College, Pitt Community College and ECU were on hand to help students figure out the next step to making their art into a career.

“To see art in practice and see people happy and making money, it’s inspiring to them,” Holman said.