Taking her visual cues from the studio to real life

HOMETOWN: New Vernon, N.J.
MAJOR: Studio Fine Arts
MINOR: Film Studies
PROFESSOR: Laini Nemett, visual arts

Sam and Laini Nemett in studio

Samantha Siegel has been able to develop her creative abilities in ways she never imagined through courses in a variety of visual arts media.

“Studio art is a really important part of my life, and I knew before entering college that this was the path I wanted to follow,” she said. “I chose Union for the welcoming community and fantastic art department.

“I really wanted to explore, experiment with and dive deeper into different art forms, such as oil painting, digital art and photography.”

Helping her along the artistic path is her adviser, Laini Nemett, the John D. MacArthur Assistant Professor of Visual Arts. Professor Nemett has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and Fulbright, and she has participated in such artist residencies as Yaddo, Joan Mitchell Center and UCross. Her work is exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad.

“Laini always makes herself available to students, whether meeting in class or during office hours,” Samantha said. “In painting, she told me to not be afraid of color. She really puts in the effort to help her students succeed, no matter what their level.”

After taking several drawing classes with Nemett, “Sam was able to use her knowledge

of form and value to embrace oil painting with expressive mark-making, bold colors and confidence,” said Nemett. “I try to encourage all of my students to experiment, take risks and play with the medium in ways that excite and surprise us both.”

One term, Nemett accompanied her life drawing class to New York City, which Samantha deemed “one of my greatest Union experiences. We visited the Whitney Museum and The Met and wandered through galleries in Chelsea, then topped it off with a dinner where we discussed all the incredible art we saw.”

Samantha says that in addition to learning from professors who inspire and support their students’ success, “there are endless reasons” to study art at Union.

“The new art building, Feigenbaum Center for Visual Arts, is truly extraordinary, with top-of-the line resources available to all art students. The digital art room has high-end computers with new technology. There is amazing gallery space and lots of natural light in the rooms. What has been especially great is that Union provides all of the art supplies, such as paints and brushes, for you.”

When not involved in her academic studies, Samantha keeps busy as a member of the Women’s Varsity Tennis Team, a digital media intern for the Men’s Hockey team, and a member of her sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon.

And she continues to take what she’s learned out of Union’s studios and into the world. As an intern at the Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., she has been working on digital platforms for the New York Knicks, New York Rangers and MSG Entertainment.

“Union has given me the skills to succeed in the digital media field,” she said. “I eventually would love to get into TV and film production, and I think my studies have prepared me for a career in this industry, too.

“With the opportunities and experiences I have had through Union, I feel ready for the future.”

Icon of the Nott Memorial