As we navigate an upcoming academic year in a pandemic, Arts NC State is reaching out to incoming students and others who’d like to get to know the faces behind the arts programs of Arts NC State.
Be sure to visit go.ncsu.edu/arts to check out all we have to offer for your creative experiences at NC State!
How long have you been involved in the arts on campus and what do you do?
I’m rather fortunate to have had a long and fluid relationship with the arts on NC State’s campus! I got started a little younger than most – in middle and high school my dad would take me out to practice my photography and we’d regularly walk and photograph NC State’s campus together. Sometimes when our excursions coincided with the Gregg’s/Talley’s operating hours we’d stop by and see the latest exhibit. The Czech Glass exhibition was one of the first that he took me to see and as a budding film photographer emerging in a digital world, artifacts from periods past have always resonated with me.
In 2007 I committed to NC State University and became a founding member of the Arts Village that fall. The Arts Village quickly introduced me to the Crafts Center, and the center has felt like a second home to me ever since. I got a job as a student front desk attendant in 2009 and started teaching black and white darkroom classes shortly thereafter – and I have taught classes every semester since then!
When I graduated in 2012, I continued teaching photography while also doing custom framing work for various Michaels in the Triangle and learned about art preservation and restoration processes. In the summer of 2017, I came back to the Crafts Center as the studio technician and photo studios manager and I absolutely adore giving back to the creative campus community that has already given me so much!
What has been one of your favorite projects you have worked on here?
Hands down my favorite, and undoubtedly most meaningful, project has been PostSecretU! I discovered PostSecret back in 2005 during a really ugly personal growth period and it had a big impact on my mental health. In fact, I’d say that PS played a large role in quite literally saving my life, so the chance to pay that gratitude forward and help facilitate a PSU program on our campus was both infinitely surreal and rewarding for me.
This project also gave me the opportunity, and subsequently the courage, to speak on campus at the annual Suicide Awareness Vigil that year. Afterwards I was also able to talk with students one-on-one and connected those interested to other valuable art and creative expression outlets on campus. If you find yourself facing a difficult time or feeling hopeless, please talk to someone, find an outlet, and get help – I promise, it does get better and the pack has your back!
What have you been up to during the pandemic? What shows have you been watching or books have you been reading? What podcasts have you been listening to?
The process of getting the Crafts Center’s summer programming online and running our first ever set of digital classes has me stuck behind a computer exponentially more than I would normally be… so I’ve been really trying to limit my screen time after hours to focus on being active and moving around. When I’m winding down my day, I like to watch The Office, but otherwise I spend my time walking through Raleigh with my dog Zulu, shooting film, and practicing my screen printing. Lately I’ve been listening to Bad Times at El Royale and Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks on repeat while I work in the studio. I’ve also been grinding my way through Bait by Chuck Palahniuk – if you’re unfamiliar with his “off color stories for you to color” miniseries I recommend that you give it a gander.
Have you watched any art performance online? Which ones?
Towards the beginning of quarantine, I submitted some of my pup’s portraits to the Dispatch from Quarantine zine put together by University Libraries – shout out to Cas Soroza and Amanda Dahill-Moore for doing an amazing job with this project! They held a digital reception (think Minecraft, but more sophisticated) for the zine’s release and I was able to walk my avatar through a whole “museum” of digitally represented physical and performance art – I could even interact with the other attendees! My favorite performance features were The Cabin Flipper and You’ll Never Walk Alone. Just in case you missed the reception, University Libraries has the zine archived here! https://indd.adobe.com/view/f0c67507-f7a3-466c-83ee-a19fb70155d6
What advice would you give to an incoming student about getting involved with the arts at NC State?
If you’re new to the arts or to campus, here’s my best advice: try everything and don’t limit yourself, especially in the early stages of your discovery! The more that you learn and experience the more collaborative and captivating your art endeavors can become. I encourage you all to go out and fall in love with more than one medium, style, application, or experience!
Anything else you want to add?
If you want to connect or follow my film adventures, I’m most active on Instagram with the handle @katyswalls. I’m also passionate about NC State Women’s Club Rugby and local social justice.
Contributing Writer: Christy Rain