Attend or not attend.

This conference was an eye opening experience and one that I will continually be pondering over the next months and leading up to my decision to attend Los Angeles or not. In an earlier post I defined my mission CAA as one to determine how the conference can best serve current MFA students and recent graduates (focusing on MFA because that is my perspective). Being situated close to New York gave a great advantage of being able to glimpse the conference at a calculated distance. I was able to completely geek out and attend some really great panels but also snoop around, have casual chats with folks about what they wish to get from the conference.

For most, the conference was about meeting people. Old friends, making new ones, and hopefully ones that may hire them in the near future. In these small conversations little bits of information flowed effortlessly for those who were asked, “should an MFA candidate attend the CAA conference while in her last year, months before graduation?” Yes. Do it. But these answers came with a few qualifiers. Make sure to scout the job listings early, in November, apply, and hopefully someone will bite. But most importantly, let those potential employers know that you are planning to attend CAA. Secondly, if you do attend, go to the career mentoring sessions and workshops. At these meetings you are able to bring a résumé, sample cover letter and portfolio for review from someone who has seen hundreds, maybe even thousands of them and able to give a kick in the pants to get your items in order, or reassure you that everything is looking stellar.

One kind woman give one last reminder: remember to have some fun and see what’s going on outside of the conference at museums and galleries. Take advantage of the fact you are in a great art center, whether it be this year in New York, next in Los Angeles, and after that Chicago (?).

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