From working at Fortune 500 companies to sustaining a thriving solo art career, graduates with a fine arts degree make an impact. As the business world realizes the value of incorporating creatives in all fields, creatives themselves are discovering ways to break out on their own. Just ask MCA alumni and entrepreneurs Courtney Lollar (BFA ’08) and Evan Leggoe (BFA ’11).
While a student at MCA, Courtney worked at Ben & Jerry’s, teaching herself how to decorate ice cream cakes. Her cake decorating skills haven’t stopped since. She has the most fun making things that taste great, and look great, too. Courtney says she often runs into people from MCA and they ask, “So you’re making cakes…do you ever make real art anymore?” Her answer is always very simple: “I make art on a mostly daily basis. It’s just not something that hangs on a wall or in a gallery…it’s art you can eat!”
Along with partner Mary Katherine Dunston, and restauranteur Aldo Dean and his wife Caroline, Courtney is opening Two Girls and a Whip, a cakery in downtown Memphis. The cakery is located on the northwest corner of Front and Talbo at 363 S. Front St. and plans to open soon. Keep up with Two Girls and a Whip on the Facebook page.
Like Courtney, alumna Evan Leggoe has taken her passion to the next level. This year, Evan launched Thicket, a floral design company based in Atlanta, Georgia. When Evan moved to Atlanta five years ago, she thought that floral design would be a potentially fun and rewarding job. With no experience in the field, Evan was hired because her bosses figured (correctly) that her art degree meant that she would be able to do the work.
As Evan says, “I took to floral design easily, utilizing the elements and principles of design that I honed during my education and it wasn’t long before I desired to be doing this work on my own terms.”
After she began to receive more freelance opportunities, Evan made the leap to business owner. Her company is thriving, and her work is beautiful. As Evan says, “Getting paid to do something that brings you joy is the ultimate and elusive goal for most creatives, and I feel like I have found that in floral design.” Visit Thicket’s website for more examples of Evan’s work.