Carrie Yury and the CAA: Ten Years Postdegree Advice

Los Angeles, CA  At the 100th Annual CAA Conference in downtown Los Angeles, I got a chance to sit and listen to a panel of women that could impress even the most haughty of elite art folks with their hard work, dedication, and professional experience.

Among these women, Carrie Yury knocked my socks off with her helpful advice and personal experience in the art world. Carrie Yury, a professor at CSUF, an occasional writer for Artillery Magazine, and a creative photographer, and art world professional–Yury is impressive even just in her stats. But at the CAA in Los Angeles this year, she laid it all out for the postgrad professionals. She simplified a list of advice of things to do as a professional artist or scholar in something she called her manifesto, and I am going to regurgitate her advice for you here.

1. Only talk to the nice people: if people are interested in you or your work, they will listen, and they will not put you down, or make your feel inadequate or inferior. If they want to treat you poorly, they are not worth your energy, and they are merely only a few in the thousands of people that you can approach. Spend your time on the people who will give you their time.

2. Get a support group: It is one of the hardest transitions for an artist straight out of grad school–transitioning from Grad Crit groups to nothing. Make your own! Whether it be other recent graduates, old professors, creative types, neighbors, or other new artistic moms, get yourself a crit group that is supportive and helpful to your practice and use them! Outsider eyes will always benefit your art conversations, and your artwork.

3. Take every opportunity: When you fresh out of grad school, you really shouldn’t be too picky about your opportunities, and you should squander any possible artistic avenues that are offered to you. Say yes to everything! Big or small.

4. Make Stuff Happen!: You cannot just sit around and wait for something to happen to you, you have to be proactive in your art, in your career, in odd jobs, commissions, showing opportunities, grants, fellowships, etc, etc. You MUST make your own life happen for yourself.

5. Treat your work like work: Just like Karen Atkinson advised me, Carrie Yury agreed–work is work, treat it as such. Every Monday morning, have a business meeting with yourself. Go over your goals for the week, month, year, and see how things are adding up. Set aside work days, hours, or even minutes. Your art practice is a job, a career even. take it seriously, and don’t slack off!

6. Be Persistent!: Almost all of the women on this panel were successful and professional women scholars and artists, but it takes time and energy. Don’t give up after one blow to the ego; if you get knocked down, pick yourself up and try again. it takes time. I applied to 8 different grad schools before I finally got into one. Everyone has their own path, and good opportunities need your commitment–be persistent!


This panel of women gave me faith and hope in my own future in the art world, but also in the women as a professional whole. We must be much more than just women. We must wear so many hats in order to consider ourselves successful. Family, career, money, household, marriage, and so much more. My generation specifically has a great deal more stresses than that of my mother’s generation. And we must conquer, not just accomplish. the women on this panel gave me confidence that we could do just that.

Thanks Ladies.


CAA Committee on Women in The Arts


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