Scholarship winner finds career path in art

Alumni Laureate Scholar Profile

Scholarship winner finds career path in art

By Megan Schmidt

While many high school students flip burgers or fold sweaters at their first after-school jobs, Brooke Breckenridge was flexing her creative muscle as an apprentice for The Arts Commission in Toledo.

She was just 16 years old when she, along with a few dozen other students, was chosen for the Young Artists at Work apprenticeship program. Now, four years later, Breckenridge has returned to the Arts Commission as an intern this semester.

“Even though I'd worked there, I wasn't totally sure how or who to approach to start working with them again,” Breckenridge said. “Luckily, during my freshman year I made a connection with BGSU School of Art Director Katerina Ruedi Ray and she helped link me with the arts commission again.”

As a 3-D studio art major, Breckenridge likely would have crossed paths with Ray eventually. Having a one-on-one chat with Ray at an alumni dinner during Breckenridge's first BGSU homecoming weekend however helped her build a relationship early on.

“Being an Alumni Laureate Scholar, you're surrounded by people who push you to be better, to be more involved,” Breckenridge said. “I really value every connection I'm making.”

Breckenridge, a Perrysburg native, entered BGSU as an art education major. At the time, it seemed a “safe” way to go, she said.

“Art is a difficult field to make it in, so I thought arts education would provide a good safety net for me,” she said. “As much as I loved my own art classes in school and the classroom experiences I already had, I began to realize there's a whole realm of other possibilities in art, beyond teaching or being a studio artist.”

At the encouragement of her BGSU advisor, Breckenridge began taking arts management classes, giving her a whole new perspective on her future career.

Her new goal is to work in the nonprofit world — perhaps for an art museum, arts organization or commission or arts education initiative.

A junior at BGSU, 20-year-old Breckenridge is already eyeing graduate programs in arts administration.

But she knows she still has much to accomplish in Bowling Green. She is a supporter of Dance Marathon, having served on core committees for the event during the past two years. In April, she will bike the 180 miles between Bowling Green and Cincinnati for Dance Marathon's Bike for Tikes fundraiser.

Breckenridge has been an intern for the School of Art's gallery and is also a member of Kappa Delta sorority. She served as Kappa Delta's vice president of operations during the 2013-14 school year. “I'm looking to get much more involved in the Panhellenic community,” she said.

Breckenridge has also advocated for The Daughter Project, a Toledo-based nonprofit that operates a group home for girls rescued from sex trafficking in Ohio. She has participated in the One Grey Dress Project, wearing the same grey dress for 30 days in a row to raise awareness and funds for anti-human trafficking groups.

Looking back, Breckenridge knows she made the right choice in attending BGSU. She had been looking at least five different schools before her high school graduation, but Bowling Green stood out in her mind as the most welcoming, she said.

“When my parents and I visited for Preview Day, I remember walking around outside the Arts Village Learning Community, and a resident advisor just stopped to talk to us. He took us to the community to show us around — completely not expecting us,” she said. “It was just those kinds of things that showed me people at BG were just nice, all across the board.”