In high school, Caroline Caster was so interested in ceramics that she would wake up at 5 a.m. and sneak through an unlocked door to help her teacher unload a kiln and set up for class.
Now Caster, a freshman studying entrepreneurship. hopes to open her own bakery.
Though business and art may seem like polar opposites, Caster and other members of the student organization Art of Business, Business of Art said they know better.
In Spring 2014, business professor Laurie Fitzpatrick came up with the idea for the group after many of her business writing students approached her, confessing their love of art.
“Every semester, one or two students, sometimes more, would come to me during office hours,” the 1989 Tyler alumna said. “They would say, ‘Professor, I’m an artist,’ or ‘My father’s an artist,’ or there was some kind of connection.”
Since the club’s founding last semester, students from Fox and Tyler have joined the group to connect and share their passions and to learn from one another.
“I just like being around people who like art,” Caster said. “I’m not really around art much in college, so it’s a nice way to be involved.”
To ensure all members get what they are looking for from the organization, Fitzpatrick said students generate their own ideas and collaborate on their own projects as well as events outside of Temple.
“The best way to learn that we have common values, we share values and have common interests, [to understand] that there are no barriers, is to work together on a project,” Fitzpatrick said.
The group is currently pursuing a number of projects, like an art show members are looking to present both at Temple and at another gallery in the city sometime next semester.
In addition, AB/BA will be participating in the Punk Rock Flea Market, to be held on Dec. 14 on 9th Street.
President Laura Harris said the event is an opportunity for student artists to show their work and build valuable business skills at the same time.
Member Rachael Mecholsky said the flea market is exactly the type of experience she is hoping to get from the group.
Both Harris and Mecholsky said they originally wanted to double major in either business or marketing and fine art, but were told that it would take at least six years to complete the programs.
“At Tyler they go over more your junior andsenior year the business aspect, but I don’t know anything right now, and I want to start early,” the sophomore fine arts major said. “I want to be able to market my work, show stuff like that and eventually own my own business. I think this would [allow] good relationships with people in the business school, to collaborate and stuff like that.”
The organization is also not restricted to Fox and Tyler student exclusively. Fitzpatrick said one of the most important aspects of the group is that it is very open.
Members of the group range from communications majors to music majors.
“A lot of people, especially Tyler students, think [Fox] is all suits, and some of it is, and it will always be that way,” Harris, a sophomore marketing major said. “But I think both schools, and even other schools, need to see that they’re not isolated. There’s isolation in each one because we’re not encouraged to know each other and work with each other. So a big thing is just to make people from different areas feel welcome.”
As a Tyler grad, Fitzpatrick said she understands how difficult it can be to balance a heavy workload while exploring other opportunities. However, she encourages students to take their time and find what other fields interest them.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” she said. “Just absorb. As you advance in your degree work, start thinking about things that are right for you and experiment and try things on. The good news is there’s a lot of opportunity. You get to taste it all.”
Fitzpatrick said she is amazed at how positively students have responded to the organization, comparing it to a “hot air balloon that has become giant and gone right up into the air.”
“I’m really looking forward to students becoming more engaged to make this a sustainable organization that brings new cultural offerings to Temple,” Fitzpatrick said. “Instead of pushing us out and saying, ‘That’s a weirdo artist’, no, it’s your neighbor, it’s your brother, your sister, your mom, it’s your family, and the work that they do matters to you, and is relevant to you. It’s not just decoration on the wall.”
Alexa Bricker Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Editor’s note: Kara Milstein, the assistant photography editor, is also the vice president of AB/BA. She played no role in the editing process of this article.