On the border between Buckhead and Midtown, the Savannah College of Art and Design took over the old Rivera Motel across from The Temple on Peachtree Street, only to become a tour de force unprecedented campus of art education. Branding and advertising expert Judy Salzinger is a SCAD associate chair and professor who is at home in this artsy milieu where education begets creativity and intersects with business.
“Students come from all over the world to immerse themselves in the diverse SCAD collaborative learning environment that crosses many curricula. I see many students who transferred from ‘academic’ institutions exclaim, ‘I wish I had started at SCAD! There’s nothing like being surrounded by the arts 24 hours a day.’”
As a backdrop, SCAD has 14,000 students worldwide. It is a private nonprofit accredited school with 40 majors and 75 minor pursuits. There are 700 full and part-time faculty members. Tuition is $37,575 per year for full-time and $8,350 for part-time (two courses) matriculation.
It’s mind-boggling to fathom the range of degrees: fiber beauty and fragrance, animation, cinema, art history, sound, game development, sculpture, interior design, illustration, graphic design, plus many more, including advertising and branding, and branded entertainment, which Salzinger teaches.
“We have ongoing major collaborative incubators like SCADpro, where collaborative innovation studios connect current and future creative business leaders to discover what’s next. During the COVID-19 crisis, as students learned virtually, our ‘Guests and Gusto,’ real time virtual talks for students offered amazing artistic forces like actor Jason Alexander or Juliet Blake, head of television at TED.”
Listen in as Salzinger looks back and forward.
AJT: How did COVID-19 affect your routine at SCAD?
Salzinger: I’m conducting eight classes a week on Zoom and Blackboard. After winter quarter break, it was a full transition. We literally spent 24 hours a day preparing for this with the amazing support of SCAD. I still do group projects virtually, communication is excellent, and students have adapted incredibly well! I am able to give personal feedback in real time as well. SCAD already had an active eLearning program in place prior to COVID.
AJT: What are some of the out-of-the-box positions you’ve had that led you down this path?
Salzinger: My earlier career was in Manhattan, where I was part of an art directing team for Jim Henson’s “Fraggle Rock” pilot; was a designer of domestic fragrances at Revlon; and designed a toy for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, among other projects. When I moved to Atlanta, I was fortunate to work with top sponsors at the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games. In 2011 I taught at the SCAD Hong Kong location, which was incredible! I look forward to one day teaching at SCAD’s Lacoste in southeastern France.
AJT: How has the film industry impacted SCAD?
Salzinger: Our students have major collaborative opportunities with Atlanta’s film industry as a hub. Many experts in production, film, and animation mentor our students. SCADshow is the main venue for SCADFILM and aTVfest screenings. On a similar note, through our SCADpro program, Fortune 500 companies that seek out our millennial students to design and innovate new companies are still mentoring SCAD students, giving input and conversely giving feedback weighing in on their student presentations.
Our students are continuously entering international competitions. In the advertising and branding department, students entered the Shark Tank Global Wellness Summit in Singapore. After winning first, second and third place, they flew to Singapore to receive awards and present their work to worldwide industry leaders seeking innovative ideas in the wellness sector.
AJT: What is the job outlook for SCAD grads?
Salzinger: The sky is the limit. I’ve had students get positions at Instagram, Wieden+Kennedy, Leo Burnett, Apple, Facebook, Publicis, and many more top companies. Top-notch career opportunities! The SCAD mission is to prepare students for their future creative professions. We take that very seriously!
AJT: Closing thoughts about where we are headed?
Salzinger: I’ve had many conversations with students about their future opportunities. We will pivot as is necessary, and their opportunities may be different, but just as exciting. Think about all of the new ideas that have been created while being sequestered. It is an amazing time in history to innovate and be creative!