Making Your Art Go Further Than the Classroom

By Alexis Rufener

Chris Yambar, one of three speakers, spoke at the “Art Means Business” lecture Wednesday evening. Photo by Alexis Rufener/The Jambar

Youngstown State University’s McDonough Museum of Art was home to the “Art Means Business” lecture series on Wednesday.

This final part of the AMB series featured a panel of artists and musicians. Those artists include James Pernotto, Chris Yambar and symphony performer Christina Gant. The moderator of this artist panel was Bill Mullane.

Cary Wecht, associate dean of YSU’s College of Creative Arts & Communication, spoke about the purpose of the lecture series.

“The ‘Arts Mean Business’ series is a collaboration between the College of Creative Arts & Communication and Power of the Arts,” Wecht said. “Together, we have — and will continue — to bring free and vital programming to arts and communication professionals.”

Mullane opened up the lecture with introductions of each artist and speaker. He explained how Yambar, Pernotto and Gant gave students advice on how to network with other artists, musicians and other creative professionals.

Pernotto, director of Next Best Art gallery, followed with a video on how he got his start in visual art through paper sculptures and different forms of pop art.

For the artists and musicians in the panel, what they do isn’t just a hobby, but a business and lifestyle. Each of them strives to better themselves and also get their creations out to the community in order to spread awareness about what to expect in the real world after college comes to a close.

Many said that networking through various businesses and other artists is the best way to get students’ stories out and have their voice be hard.

“[Art’s] a luxury item,” Yambar said. “Until you’re really in the moment, you have no idea really what’s sitting out there waiting for you.”

Yambar spoke about his job as a visual artist and his time as a writer for Bongo comics with entailed writing Simpson comic strips along with drawing for other cartoons, such as Popeye and Spongebob Squarepants.

Yambar said he would like to think of himself as an on-call person and “the best boss he’s ever had.” His advice to those who aren’t sure where to start when they graduate was encouraging, yet realistic.

“Don’t worry about money. Money will follow you when you get better at what you do,” Yambar said. “Never stop feeding your brain and never quit your day job until you can’t stand it anymore.”

Gant spoke about her experience training and studying the violin and the number of hours she would practice to get ready for only a five minute audition.

“Networking is olden, but golden,” Gant said.

At the end of the lecture, all of the speakers opened up to the audience for questions. During that time they spoke about how working in Youngstown has helped them.

“Youngstown works for me because I work for Youngstown,” Yambar said. “I am Youngstown.”