My Communication Processes degree helped change my career

My name is Mel Kolstad.  I graduated in 1991 (as Mel Jones) with a B.S. in Communication Processes (emphasis: Electronic Media) and a minor in Communication Arts.  Professor Tim Meyer was a huge reason that I enjoyed my field of study.

For most of my adult life, I was employed by either television stations or newspapers, both in Green Bay and my current home, Fond du Lac.  I loved my time at UWGB, and always assumed I’d have a career in mass media.

Then I discovered art.

I took NO art classes during my tenure!  This was definitely a latent interest of mine, one I didn’t even know I had until 2006.  But I entered the art world at the perfect time – a time when it was possible to show my work on the internet and get immediate responses.  At the same time, it was becoming clear to me that my job in the newspaper industry wouldn’t last forever.  So in January of 2010, I took a huge risk and left my job at The Reporter, and ventured off into the unknown territory of The Art World.

It was VERY scary at first.  I honestly had no idea where this new “career” (if I could even call it that then) would take me.  But with the help of the skills I learned during my time at GB, it made the transition far smoother. I very quickly learned that in order to succeed, one not only needs to make art, but to promote it as well.  It is imperative to craft a decent artist statement, biography, and resumé – not to mention a cohesive website and social media presence.  I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that my writing skills, honed at university, have gotten me published in “Professional Artist” and “Uppercase” magazines, and the book The Artist’s Library, for which I was a contributor.  I am forever grateful for my classes here – without them, my new(wish) art career would not have been as rich.

My experience came full circle this past fall, when I was part of the Contemporary Views exhibit at the Lawton Gallery!  If you would’ve told me 24 years ago that I would ever have the chance to show at this wonderful gallery, I would’ve laughed.  It was so fantastic to once again be on campus, and for such a fun reason!

Mel (Jonees) Kolstad ’91
Communication Processes (Electronic Media emphasis)
Communication Arts (minor)