A Day in the Life is a Campus Times series highlighting the studies and lives of UR students. Answers have been lightly edited for grammar, clarity, and/or style.
Junior Nathan Cobbs is an Art History and Studio Arts double major in the Art New York program for the Spring 2022 semester. The CT interviewed Cobbs to learn more about his experience so far, why he chose to apply, and what he’d tell prospective applicants.
Tell us about a typical day in your life in the Art NY program.
Thursday is my most interactive day. I arrive at the office for my internship with the Monira Foundation in Jersey City around 11:30 a.m. after about an hour commute on two different trains. I help with a lot of different things, but currently I’m helping with an exhibition on site and one in the Jersey City Mayor’s office. We’re displaying works from artists that did their residency with the Monira Foundation. I’ve also helped curate works, put forward proposals for exhibition layouts, and set up artist talks. My internship ends between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and I head back to my apartment, sometimes stopping to pick up some food for dinner (otherwise I’ll make it myself).
Fridays are also usually busy. In the morning I have my studio course with the 12 other students where we come together and work on our projects that are based on prompts from our professor, Heather Layton. The colloquium usually takes up the afternoon with field trips to different art-related things around the city. So far we’ve been to Bushwick for a street art tour, the Banksy Museum, a subway tour, and MoMA PS1. We’re going to the Brooklyn Museum soon for the Christian Dior exhibit.
What are your majors and why did you choose them?
I started off college as just an Art History major, but I had to take a studio class for the major in my sophomore fall and really enjoyed it. I love the analysis of art and how it reflects culture and have taken a lot of studio art classes in grade school. Double majoring was a perfect opportunity to not only tap back into that but also see both sides of it. Coming from an Art History perspective, it’s easy to analyze work but not understand the physical process of making it. On the flip side, from a Studio Arts perspective, it’s easy to make art but not be able to analyze it or fit it into a historical context or have specific reference points in your work. I thought double majoring would be a good mesh of the two so that I’m more well-rounded.
I also have two clusters in Sustainability and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. It was especially interesting my sophomore fall. I was taking a queer history class, a studio course, and two art history courses, and they all meshed together. I love when your classes are all interlocked and you can learn about the broader context of art at the time it was created.
What made you choose to apply to the Art NY program?
I first heard about the Art NY program my first year when my Posse scholar advisor recommended it to me so I was really always thinking about it and planning on applying. There aren’t a lot of art internship opportunities in Rochester outside of the Memorial Art Gallery, and I knew going to New York City would be a good opportunity to get more experience in the art field.
What’s been your favorite part of the program so far?
I’d have to say the field trips. They show us sides of the city from an artistic perspective and places we wouldn’t have access to on our own or wouldn’t have known about, like MoMA PS1. It’s been fun to be a part of the city and experience being elsewhere in the middle of my time at UR.
Heather Layton and Megan Metté have done such a great job running the program. Heather is in the city with us running the studio course and colloquium, and Megan helped me find an internship and set up most of the students’ apartments.
What would you tell students considering applying to Art NY?
Go for it! There are people who aren’t art-related majors in the program so don’t worry if you’ve never taken an art class before. It’s a great opportunity to experience New York City and its art scene. You get to push yourself creatively and draw inspiration from the city. There’s so much to pull from here and the opportunities are endless. If you have the space in your schedule, why not? You don’t know if you’ll ever have this opportunity again.