Kelsey Courage is a fourth-year metals and objects major at SCAD and her work has already been sold in boutiques, used in various fashion shows, films and theatre productions, and even displayed in the Smithsonian.
While most 14-year-olds were immersing themselves in the latest high school gossip, Kelsey found herself taking metalsmithing courses and making jewelry for her classmates in theatre productions.
Her interest in metalsmithing only grew from there and when she was 15, she decided to attend a summer seminar at SCAD. After returning the following summer, she knew SCAD was the college for her. “I just fell in love with Savannah,” said Kelsey.
Coming into SCAD she planned to major in costume design but quickly realized that the fashion department wasn’t for her. “I decided I was happier hammering things,” said Kelsey.
When asked about her first impression of SCAD she replied, “ I was worried. I came from Virginia Beach, Va. … I didn’t really know what I was walking into. I remember getting on a bus one day and there was blue hair and orange hair and lots of scariness.”
Aside from the culture shock, Kelsey’s main worry was how her roommates were going to be. Her freshmen year, she lived in Turner House. “Three girls in a room is never a good idea … because someone is always left out and awkward,” said Kelsey.
In Kelsey’s case, she was the odd one out and found herself questioning if SCAD was the right place for her. But she stuck it out and didn’t let that bad experience bring her down.
“The experience after freshmen year gets so much better because the people that aren’t talented and here on daddy’s money get kicked out … and then it’s just the people that are really passionate and care.”
Those are the people that Kelsey surrounds herself with. For her senior thesis she collaborated with over 20 students in 15 different majors. She’s made it a point to befriend someone in every major.
“One of the nicest things about SCAD is the ability to have this artist community and be able to collaborate with other students … it’s all about networking.”
Kelsey has learned just as much, if not more, from her friends and fellow classmates at SCAD than her professors.
“I ignore a lot of what my professors say. Not because I don’t respect them or because they don’t have knowledge or aren’t great at what they do, but because often times, the professors are artist themselves so their aesthetic, their inclinations, the things that they are drawn to are going to be subjective.”
While SCAD might present students with a lot of opportunities, they don’t guarantee success. “SCAD and art school in general is what you make it. I think if you’re passionate about something and you’re willing to work for it no matter what anyone says, then you will have no problem,” said Kelsey. “It’s really about taking the opportunities presented to you.”