Artist Platform Creatively Partners With Schools to Showcase Portfolios During Pandemic

Nearly 50 students at notable art, design and film schools were chosen to be part of the Creatively Class of 2020.

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Majoring in art has long been considered to be a poor career choice, financially.

A 2019 ranking by personal finance website went so far as to call art majors the "least valuable" degrees. And that was before the coronavirus pandemic hit.

Creatively is a new job platform looking to help change all that. You don't have to pay to post your portfolio on the site. It's free to use.

Creatively CEO Greg Gittrich describes it as "a professional network built expressly for creatives of all disciplines to showcase their portfolios, connect with one another to collaborate, to show respect for work they love and to ultimately find work. Both full time and freelance."

In partnership with nine notable art, design, and film schools including Pratt, NYU, Parsons, Yale, FIT, University of Cincinnati, City College of New York, Academy of Art University (SF), and Bronx Community College, nearly 50 students were chosen to be part of the Creatively Class of 2020.

Cornelia Borgerhoff graduated from the fashion design program at Pratt with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. She said the duality she's experienced in her own life as an African American adopted by white parents and "growing up white" has inspired a lot of her designs.

Cornelia Borgerhoff

As a designer, Borgerhoff sews but said she's more interested in the concept behind the design. "I start with an idea or a thought such as 'speaking white' and then from there it kind of breaks down into color and feeling," she said. "A lot of it is emotionally driven. From there, sewing is always the last step."

Borgerhoff said she was "disheartened" when her senior thesis show was canceled due to COVID-19 and was unsure about how she would find a job in this economy.

"It's hard coming out of school and you're really excited to get a job and kind of jump face first into the industry. And now we have this pandemic on our hands, so it kind of put everything on hold...recruiters are not reaching out as frequently as they used to."

She said Creatively is a simple platform that "makes sense to a lot of people."

"It's a lot easier to digest than me sending out my entire 40-page portfolio for somebody to look at."

Batres Gilvin

Creative duo Karla Batres and Bradly Gilvin, known as Batres Gilvin, are a married couple that specialize in mixed media. They just received their MFA from the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning.

The two come from very different backgrounds. Karla Batres is Mexican American. Bradly Gilvin grew up on a farm in Kentucky with "very southern values."

"I think our diverse backgrounds have really helped us find similarities and also things that are different within our cultures that we can really highlight in our work," Batres said.

For Batres, her Mexican heritage is a reoccurring theme in their artwork.

"It's important to me traditionally and also just with all the really rich symbols that the culture has when it comes to color and imagery...I think it's something that Brad has also appreciated since we've been together and he's been very supportive of reflecting that culture in our work," Batres said.

Mixed media is about using a lot of different materials at once. Batres Gilvin makes it a point to use materials that come from their everyday lives.

"We don't really, you know, go and buy a bunch of oil paint. We might find a bunch of styrofoam laying around or cardboard, traditional materials used in like piñata-making or different folk crafts," Gilvin said.

Their thesis show was also canceled due to COVID-19. Batres said they weren't able to show a lot of the artwork that they spent two years creating to a wider audience. Some of their thesis work can now be found on their page on Creatively.

While they appreciate the exposure, selling artwork is not their main goal. Collaboration with other artists is one of the things they look forward to most.

"The reason we were drawn to Creatively and why we think other people will also be drawn to it is that aspect of cooperation is really important on the platform and being able to give credit to people that have worked with you on a project and also finding new collaborators to work with," Batres said.

"I think the specificity of Creatively is really exciting cause it is just for creative people and people looking to hire creatives. So with Instagram or Facebook or any other kind of platform, it's open to everyone and then this is very specific and geared towards people like us. I think that's what makes it new and exciting," Gilvin said.

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