Marietta College student kick-starts art career by winning business competition

WTAP News @ 10-Marietta College kick-starts art career by winning business competition
Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 7:57 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Though she has been painting for years, Marietta College student Leah Seaman never saw art as a viable career path.

“I came into college undecided. I refused to even consider doing art. I’m not going to be poor. I refuse to be struggling. I refuse to beg people for money,” said Seaman.

Seaman was always able to use art as a side hustle, taking commissions for gas money here or there. But, she never thought of it as much more than a profitable hobby. That started to change after she spent a semester abroad in Italy, falling further in love with her craft.

“I just wandered around Florence and painted a lot and fell in love with it. And like I just kind of started to realize this cliché idea that you only get to be on this earth once and if you’re not excited to get up in the morning, what’s the point?” said Seaman

Then, over the last year, Seaman began to realize it may be possible to make a living as an artist. All she needed was a nudge from the business world.

“About a year ago, Jacqueline Khorassani, the head of the entrepreneurship department approached me and said ‘Hey, have you ever thought of this as a business?’ And I was like no, I have not. And over the course of a year with the help of a lot of mentors, professors, people who know the business world more than I as an art major do, they help me come up with a plan to sell my product as an artist under an official business entity, known as Artabella,” said Seaman.

She then took her idea to the PioBiz competition at Marietta College.

“I was very nervous being a nonbusiness major competing in this competition. I had seen Shark Tank, I was nervous,” said Seaman.

Her business idea won first place.

Now she plans to use her prize money and the experience to kick start her career as an artist.

“If I hadn’t been involved in this competition, I don’t think I would be going into it professionally right now, because it provided that competitive structure I needed to really formulate the practical side of business. It’s not oh I think I’m going to paint pictures, it’s I’ve established my accounting, my insurance, my bank account, and set myself up for success,” said Seaman.

Seaman is known around campus for her painted jackets, which have already garnered her a few customers. Through Artabella, she is already selling commissions, her painted jackets, and some of her other art.

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