Jessica Beckwith

In what way did your experience at The Department of Visual Arts at Western impact you & your career path?

In every way. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study when I came to Western, so I committed myself to a 1st year general studies program and Art History was one of my chosen classes. From the very first lecture with Professor Hatch I was hooked and I yearned to learn more! This new found passion led me to take an honors program in Art History and criticism, which then led me to come to London, UK to work for Sotheby’s, which then led me to manage a private art collection called the Levett collection and help open a Museum in the South of France, which then led me to creating my own art business!

How have you been contributing to your community following your experience at Western?

After working for Sotheby’s auction house in London and then soon after managing a private art collection, I decided to start my own business. I called it Eyer, which is a new and distinctive art consultancy that works with interior designers and private clients to create unique spaces and enhance exclusive collections. I also have been a part of many charitable programs. One of which has just raised over £500, 000 for Children & the Arts, which is a charity that works with arts venues across the UK to reach children in disadvantaged communities and hospices who are missing out on creative and cultural experiences. The charity was started by HRH The Prince of Wales and the ambition of the programs is to give those children who are at risk of being left behind, a more fulfilled, creative and exciting education, whilst raising their confidence, educational attainment and aspiration.

Can you think back and share a memorable moment from your time here at Visual Arts?

Studying until 2 am with my dear friend Sherri Lavine at Tim Hortons. Also, one particular lecture in the final year of my degree, a part of my essay was read in front of the entire class! The professor was giving me an A but I thought I had done something wrong for her to read it out loud in front of everyone. I was soon pleasantly surprised when I looked at my grade!

What was the most important thing you learned during your time here?

To follow what you are passionate about and to never doubt yourself or your choices. This will lead you down a path of success, even it’s the path less travelled.

What is something you are passionate about? What are you working on right now?

Art, music, fashion, cooking, my business. Anything that inspires my love for the arts and creativity. I am presently working on a large scale art project in Paris where I am responsible for sourcing an art collection for the owner of the house in St. Germain. I work closely with the interior designer so I can find art that can add life to his interior vision. It’s such a fun job and I am very passionate about it.

Why do you think a career in the Visual Arts is important / valuable?

We as humans have used the visual arts as a tool of expression, enrichment and communication since the dawn of our time. Studying the language of the visual arts and its history gives us insight into our past but choosing a career in the visual arts can inspire, incite and provoke for our future. Art can convey ideas across classes, cultures, even time and for that it is one of the most powerful tools of communication in the world. So what better career choice could you make in order to make your mark on this world?

What would your hopes be for the next 50 years of Visual Arts at Western?

To continue training the eye and the minds of young individuals that will go forward to make successful careers in whatever shape or form in the visual arts!