- Associated Press - Saturday, May 14, 2016

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) - Marshall University senior Karl Shaver begins his morning at 8 o’clock working at the Barnes Agency, which is conveniently located in the first floor of the university’s Visual Arts Center.

The graphics design major works until noon, mainly designing websites, including new sites for West Virginia State University, Woodlands Retirement Community and local banks, as part of his apprenticeship. From there, he heads to class - one on Marshall’s main campus and the rest in the refurbished downtown Visual Arts Center across from Pullman Square.

Mary Grassell, one of Shaver’s three graphic design professors, said being in a city environment is good for her students.

“As graphic designers, we work with the people in the city,” Grassell said. “It’s a lot closer, a lot more convenient. I have a class called the Graphic Design Workshop, and we do outside work. So we are really close to our clients. They just stop in, meet in the conference room and I think it’s good for us to be in the city environment, rather than on campus. It’s more important for graphic designers to be close to people as opposed to be in academia, just because it’s where they are going to work.”

The six-story Visual Arts Center opened in September 2014 at 927 3rd Ave. The building has classrooms, administrative offices and a 2,200-square-foot gallery along with retail space, which includes the Barnes Agency and a design studio for Huntington-based manufacturer of high-end wooden furniture, MacKenzie-Dow. Converted from an old department store, the entire project cost $13.7 million and was funded by bonds and private donations.

It is now the primary educational home for Marshall students studying art education, art history, fibers, foundations, graphic design, painting, photography and printmaking.

Shaver said the professionalism he has learned during his time at Marshall is what will set him apart from others when applying to jobs.

“There are things in design you can learn yourself, but I think learning at a university gives you more practical, real-world experience than you would get if you taught yourself at home,” he said. “You learn group work that definitely applies to industry work. Having worked at Barnes, you have to work with people. You have to be able to meet deadlines, be on time and speak well. Those all those life things you would be missing if you weren’t learning in a school. That’s how education will help me moving forward.”

Shaver said his advice to incoming freshmen to the School of Art and Design is take pride in all of their work; don’t just work to get the grade.

“You don’t always, but when you get there, and you are putting your portfolio together, what you have is what you have,” Shaver said.

“Take your portfolio seriously. Value what you do and do your best. When you don’t, from personal experience, if you just do enough to get by on a project to get a good grade but you don’t really do something you are proud of, then eventually you will be compiling your portfolio and you won’t really want to use it. That’s the biggest thing. Education is what you make of it.”


Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, https://www.herald-dispatch.com

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