justine feldt

Justine Feldt

2012 - Film- Directing

Freelance Director

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Before Justine had even graduated, she began working on several music videos and commercials for local and national clients. Since graduation, she has worked on reality televisions shows for TLC, LIFETIME, and A&E. Focusing on directing, she has made music videos for several country and christian recording acts. She most recently had the honor of directing country music icon, Dolly Parton, for her latest music video “Home“. The music video made its international premiere on VEVO’s homepage.

Alexa Sullivant

2013 - Graphic Design

Graphic Designer for Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum

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Alexa  has done work for  Third Man Records, First Platoon, Climb Nashville, Nashville’s Dead, Nashville Scene, and Dolly Parton. She is currently a Graphic Designer at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. She also does a lot of animal rescue work, and makes flyers/posters PSAs for rescue groups. (spookyandscully.com)

Trent Thibodeaux

2006 - Graphic Design

Senior Designer at Pandora

Trent has worked as a freelance designer for companies like Cracker Barrel Restaurants, Caterpillar, and the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He worked as an in-house designer for Third Man Records, a Nashville-based record label owned by musician Jack White. Trent is now a Senior Designer at Pandora Radio in San Fransisco.

Lua Faragher

2013 - Interior Design

Interior Designer & Owner of Lua Moore Interiors

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In 2013 Lua joined Connie Vernich Interior Design in Nashville as a Junior Designer before starting her own company, Lua Moore Interiors, in 2014. She is known for her beautiful hand rendering techniques and specializes in new construction design and renovations.

Katherine Bonaccorso

2014 - Film

Guest Coordinator for TMZ Live

After graduation Katie moved to Los Angeles where she worked for comedian Max Amini as well as doing market research for upcoming films at Screen Engine LLC and freelancing as a production assistant. She’s been working at TMZ since 2015 and is currently an Associate Producer on TMZ Live.


Abby Whisenant

2008 - Photography

Project Director, Oasis Center's Underground Art Studio

After graduation, Abby became a National Teaching Fellow through AmeriCorps and the national education reform nonprofit Citizen Schools. Recently, she returned home to Nashville and is currently leading projects through Oasis Center’s Underground Art Studio, a program she helped develop and launch in February 2013. At Oasis Center, Abby engages at-risk and homeless youth in a variety of art activities, including painting, photo-voice, sculpture, upcycling, murals & street art.

Erika Thompson

2013 - Interior Design

Senior Interior Designer, JL Design

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In 2016 Erika Thompson was named a finalist in the Nashville Lifestyles ‘Best Up and Coming Designer’ category. She is now a Senior Interior Designer at JL Design, an Interior Design firm in Nashville, TN.

Taylor Mesa

2012 - Interior Design

Project Manager at Interior Design Associates

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After graduating from Watkins Taylor worked for Peggy Newman Designs before going to IDA. IDA is an award winning design firm specializing in hospitality and high-end senior living. As a Project Manager she focuses on space planning, interior architecture, and seeing projects through the Construction Administration phase.

Kimberly Michaud

1995 - Interior Design

Interior Designer and Owner of Kimberly A Michaud Interiors

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Since 1999, Kimberly Michaud has been the owner of Kimberly A. Michaud Interiors, an interior design firm that specializes in healthcare, education, government, and church design nationwide. She has also designed interior spaces for homes, hair salons and spas, libraries, and recently Polaris’s new visiting center and its manufacturing plant for all-terrain vehicles.

Emma Nitz

2016 - Film


Emma Nitz is a freelance screenwriter based in Nashville, TN. In 2015, she traveled to Guatemala with Actuality Media and produced a short documentary titled “Cooking for the Guatemalan Dream”. She is the second Watkins film student to be invited by the Writers Guild Initiative to participate in the Michael Collyer Memorial Fellowship for her feature “The Gathering Place”. She achieved First Alternate for the fellowship in 2016.

Ben Frank

2001 - Graphic Design

Sr. Motion Designer/Animator at CNN

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Ben is an award-winning motion graphics designer & animator with a strong background in print and web design. During his time working for CMT he was a lead designer on a complete re-brand of the company. He  now lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife and their two crazy dogs. He currently works as a Sr. Motion Designer/Animator for CNN International.

Claudio M. Rojas

2001 - Film

Academic Director of the Film and Animation Academy at ULACIT

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Claudio is a filmmaker and educator who is based in Costa Rica. He is a member of the jury for the PROARTES Award 2015 in the video production category (a national award given by the Costa Rican Government to young videographers and filmmakers who need funding). In 2009 he participated in a project to create a local cable tv station for the city of Orotina in Alajuela, Costa Rica. He has been the director and producer for short films as well as tv shows airing in Costa Rica, and has worked on major motion pictures, including: The Last Castle (Dreamworks LLC) and Beyond the Wall of Sleep (Lionsgate – Visceral Pictures).

Riley Miller

2013 - Interior Design

Junior Designer at Josh Held Design

Riley is based in New York at Josh Held Design. She has worked on major projects including the Theater Renovation at Madison Square Garden, a $1M renovation of the Presidential Suite at the Dream Hotel Downtown NY, and the Living Room Bar at the W Hotel in Times Square.

Justin Orton

2011 - Interior Design

Studio Designer

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Justin works as a Studio Designer at Studio 121, where he coordinates construction documents. His experience with AutoCAD, Revit, and rendering techniques allows the team to clearly communicate design concepts. Thanks to Justin, clients can visualize their space and contractors have the details to accurately build it.

Sara Strese

2012 - Graphic Design

Senior Designer

Sara is a Designer (web and print) at Delevante Creative – Nashville. She was hired for this position after two years as Senior Designer UI/UX design at Applauze Media., responsible for designing the mobile apps and marketing materials for the innovative event and ticketing service. She also worked on the popular Band of the Day app and assisted with product development.

Hannah Masterson

2013 - Interior Design


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Immediately upon graduation, Hannah landed a position as junior designer at the boutique firm Beth Haley Design in Nashville, involved in virtually all the planning, drawing and designing details as well as writing for the BHD blog and a local style publication.

Quinn Dukes

2007 - Fine Art

Performance Artist and Associate Director of Admissions at SVA

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Within weeks of her final BFA critique, Quinn moved to New York City, determined to continue her development as a multidisciplinary performance artist. In the past six years, her work has been performed throughout New York as well as in Seattle, Boston, and in art fairs at Miami Art Basel and the New York Armory. Currently she is curator of the dB visual artist series in Dungeon Beach/Brooklyn, and is Assistant Director of Admissions at the School of Visual Art, where she is also pursuing an MFA in Art Practice.

John Henley

2010 - Fine Art

Visual/Creative Artist at Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.

John Henley is a member of A.S.A.I. (American Society of Architectural Illustrators) and works at a Nashville architecture firm Earl Swensson Associates, Inc., in the visual/creative department, providing and creating renderings, concepts, illustrations, plans, elevations, models, perspectives, and animations for local and national projects. During an internship in 2010, he received his first publication in Architectural Record from an honorable mention in a sketch contest: “Since then it hasn’t really stopped. I stay busy all the time now.”

Julian Vaca

2011 - Film/Screenwriting


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Since graduating with a concentration in film/screenwriting, Julian has published four novels. Julian‘s sophomore novel, “Running From Lions,” won the Novel Rocket Award for Best Young Adult book in 2013, and his third title, “The Surgers!” was a top pick in Amazon.com’s Breakthrough Novel Award Contest. Julian‘s first three titles have been best sellers and highlighted in The Tennessean and, most recently, Nashville Nation. He currently divides his time between signings, speaking engagements, and as an instructor for A Novel Idea–an after school program that empowers middle and high schoolers to write.

Stephen Jones

2011 - Graphic Design

Graphic Designer

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Stephen G. Jones is a Nashville-based graphic designer and brand strategist who’s crafted award-winning creative elements for a wide range of clients including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Toyota, National Guard, and Crowned Head Cigars. After a stint with the U.S. Navy as a designer/photographer, he completed an internship at Chen Design Associates in San Francisco, California. He is now operating out of his own studio in Nashville. He’s also involved as organizer/speaker wrangler for the Nashville Chapter of the Creative Mornings, the monthly breakfast lecture series for the creative community now in 84 cities around the world.


Jim Blackstock

2009 - Film

Freelance Videographer, Photographer

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After graduation, Jim began working in film and television production. He worked on seven seasons on hit U.S. TV show Extreme Makeover Home Edition, in the camera and audio departments. Other notable shows include: Steven Seagal: Lawman, Nashville Star, Jersey Shore, The Judds, The Great Food Truck Race, Find My Family, Tattoo Highway, Kid Nation, and Gone Country 1-3. He currently lives in Berlin and produces video work on a freelance basis for strategic consulting and research agencies.

alicia waters

Alicia Waters

2008 - Graphic Design

Lead Designer

Since graduation, Alicia  has been one of the lead designers at Metova– a mobile app design firm. She has designed apps for Dropbox, Yelp, Slacker, eHarmony, and many more. She is also the co-owner of a local print shop called Monkey Ink Design where she has designed print posters, album artwork, and merchandise for artists such as Josh Ritter, The Avett Brothers, Warpaint, and Jessica Lea Mayfield.

Tyler Blankenship

2012 - Photography

Commercial Photographer

Tyler shoots about 1,500 images weekly as a full-time commercial product photographer for Nelson Mazda, a dealership with three locations throughout Nashville. In addition to his first love, photography, his interests have expanded to video, music, sound engineering, screenprinting, sculpture and installation work.

Zac Adams

2000 - Film


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Zac has owned Skydive Films since 2004. They specialize in documentaries, music videos, and films. Their documentary, NASHVILLE RISES played on PBS stations across the country, won the 2011 Tennessee Spirit Award at the Nashville Film Festival, and was narrated by Billy Bob Thornton. Visit www.skydivefilms.com for more info.

Beth Haley

2004 - Interior Design

Interior Designer and Owner of Beth Haley BHD Design

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Since 2000, Beth has owned Beth Haley Design, a boutique design firm in Nashville focused on remodeling and revitalizing established homes as well as creating stimulating, functional spaces in new homes. BHD projects have been highlighted in numerous publications, including HGTV Magazine, Cottages and Bungalows, At Home Tennessee, Southern Flourish, This Old HouseBetter Homes and Gardens’ Remodel MagazineBetter Homes and Gardens’ Do It Yourself Magazine.

Kendall Bennett

2006 - Film

Art Director

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Kendall has worked as a designer and art director on many television series, including Dexter, Law & Order: Los Angeles, and Body of Proof. He is currently the production designer for ABC-TV’s show Nashville.

Justin Nolan Key

2005 - Photography

Creative Director, Photographer and Music Video Director at Big Machine Label Group

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Justin is creative director, photographer and video director at Big Machine Label Group, which includes three country music labels with 17 music acts total, among them superstars Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire and Rascal Flatts.  His job entails photo shoots and television specials (for CMT, ABC and GAC), directing music videos, and overseeing the creative services department.

Jennifer Knowles

2008 - Photography

Owner of Brown Dog Bindery

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Jennifer is the owner and operator of Brown Dog Bindery, a Middle Tennessee book bindery that specializes in historical restoration and original artist books. Jennifer also travels around the Southeast United States giving workshops and lectures about bookbinding. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.


Gina Edner

2005 - Interior Design

Associate Director for Environmental Sustainability at Starwood Hotels

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Gina is currently associate director for Environmental Sustainability at Starwood Hotels (which includes the prestigious brands of Sheraton, Westin, and W hotels).  Through her job she is able to make a huge impact on our planet by coming up with plans on how to reduce energy and water usage at more than 1,000 hotels worldwide.

Lee Gilmore

Lee Gilmore

2001 - Film

Sound Effects Editor at Warner Bros. Studios

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Lee is currently sound effects editor at Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood, after previous experience at Sony Pictures Entertainment and NBC Universal. He’s worked on dozens of major releases, including The Amazing Spider Man, Zero Dark Thirty, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Shaun Slifer

Shaun Slifer

2004 - Fine Art


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Shaun, who now lives and works in Pittsburgh,  has been working as a professional artist as well as an exhibitions designer and technician.  He is a member of the artists cooperative JustSeeds, a decentralized network of 24 artists committed to making print and design work that reflects a radical social, environmental, and political stance. He also travels and gives workshops on behalf of his artists cooperative at universities across the country.

Bill Cornelius

Bill Cornelius

2005 - Film

Video Production at MedSolutions, Owner at Lavorsia Pictures Entertainment

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Through his production company, Lavorsia Pictures Entertainment, Bill has made music videos for several country and indie acts. He is now working on a documentary about school bullying.


The Career Services Coordinator fosters professional networking opportunities between alumni and employers in the Nashville visual arts community.  Alumni are encouraged to participate in career-related events, workshops and seminars hosted by Watkins.  Alumni can utilize the many professional development resources that are available to them through the Career Services Office.

Free Course

Beginning with the Fall 2013 graduating class, alumni who have completed a baccalaureate program at Watkins may take up to two degree-program classes — one per semester — tuition-free, on a space-available basis, within two years of their graduation date.  Alumni will be responsible for any fees associated with the classes. Registration will take place each semester after degree-program and regular special-status students have completed the registration process.  Alumni may choose either to audit or enroll in courses for college credit. Fill out the Special Status – Alumni form and submit it to the Admissions Office.

Apply Online

Other Alumni Benefits

Weekly Opportunities Listing

Are you receiving the weekly opportunities listing put out by the Career Services Office?  If not, sign up with the “Participate” form and get an email every week detailing jobs, both full-time and gigs, notices of grants, residencies, and other listings of interest to artists, designers and filmmakers.

Résumé Consultation

Need help with your résumé?  Alumni can contact the Career Services Office to set up an appointment.

Current Jobs in Art

The National Employment Bulletin for the Visual Art Professions publishes a monthly resource of job listings for graduates in the visual arts field. This bulletin is available to Watkins Alumni.  To get on the list to receive this newsletter, contact the Student Life Office.

Resource List

Online resources for Alumni


AIGA-The Professional Association for Design









CAREER ROOKIE CAA-College Art Association




State Regional and National Arts Organizations

Americans for the Arts (AFTA) – Celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 2010, Americans for the Arts is the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing arts in America. AFTA is dedicated to representing and serving local communities and creating opportunities for every American to participate in and appreciate all forms of arts. Supports arts and culture through private and public resource development, serving more that 150,000 organizational and individual members and stakeholders.

Craft Emergency Relief Fund  (CERF+) – CERF+ is committed to supporting the careers of craft artists throughout the United States. Through business and career-strengthening programs, emergency relief support, advocacy and research, CERF+ helps professional craft artists strengthen and sustain their careers so that they can thrive and, thus, contribute to the quality of life in our communities.

Grantmakers in the Arts  (GIA) – Provides leadership and service to advance the use of philanthropic resources on behalf of arts and culture. GIA is the only national association of private and public funders making grants to artists and arts organizations in America.

Metro Nashville Arts Commission (MNAC) – Serves arts organizations, individual artists, and the general public as a facilitator, technical assistance provider and partner-collaborator with other arts groups. Artist registry available, workshops on arts-related issues, grant programs, public art programs and artist resources.

Mid-South Sculpture Alliance (MSA) – A non-profit organization formed in 2006 to advance the creation, awareness and understanding of sculpture in our communities. MSA is only the second affiliate of the International Sculpture Center (ISC) and serves Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. Its membership is open to anyone anywhere with an interest in and commitment to the field of sculpture, including sculptors, art educators, patrons, collectors, galleries, suppliers, architects, developers, journalist, critics, historians, curators and museums.

Nashville Chamber of Commerce – The Chamber is a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating community leadership to create economic prosperity. Employment resources, Internship listings and job boards are available online.

National Arts and Disability Center (NADC) – Promotes the full inclusion of audiences and artist with disabilities into all facets of the arts community. Resource directories, list serv, funding, call for entries and networking opportunities.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) – The most extensive directory of awards, services and publications for artists. National listing for jobs in the arts.

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – An independent federal agency supporting artists and arts organizations.

Tennessee Arts Commission (TAC) – State agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences for the citizens of Tennessee.

Tennesseans For the Arts  (TFTA) – Supports the work of the Tennessee Arts Commission as it promotes and supports artists and arts organizations in every city and county within the state.

Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts (VLPA) – A non-profit organization that provides free legal assistance and education to low-income artists of all disciplines and emerging non-profit arts organizations located in the greater Nashville area.

Southern Arts Federation (SAF) – Supports and promotes arts in the South.

Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) – National directory of Lawyers for the Arts.

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October 2014: Watkins recently completed a 12-year survey of alumni employment (2003-2014). Although we were not able to track every alumnus/a who graduated since 2003, the following is a breakdown of current career status of those traced.

Film (BFA Degree):
Working in film or film-related career or currently in graduate school – 85%
Employed but not in film related position – 13%

Fine Art (BFA Degree):
Working as an artist or art-related career or currently in graduate school – 77%
Employed but not in an art-related position – 16%

Graphic Design (BFA Degree):
Working as a graphic designer or design-related career or currently in graduate school – 91%
Employed but not in a graphic design related field – 8%

Interior Design (BFA Degree):
Working as an interior designer or design-related career or currently in graduate school – 94%
Employed but not in a interior design related field – 5%

Photography (BFA):
Working as a photographer or in a photography-related or currently in graduate school – 91%
Employed but not in a photography-related field – 9%

What can you do with a degree in the visual arts? Below is a partial list of some of the positions currently held by our alumni.  For additional information on how visual arts graduates are generally succeeding in the workforce, check out the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project (SNAAP), developed and distributed by Indiana University.


Creative Executive
Senior Editors
Digital Media Engineer
Production Co. Owner
TV Art Director
Multimedia Producer and Educator
Production Coordinator
Owner – Photography Studio
Film Equipment Manager
Museum Art Preparator
Production Assistant
Interactive Developer
Media Specialist
Director of Technology
Camera Operators
Sound Effects Editor
Exhibiting Video Artist
Sports Director
Special Effects Supervisor
Scenic Artist
Script Supervisor
Media Buyer
Production Assistant
Location Sound Specialist
Owner – film catering business
Assistant Director
Founder of WOFADMAP

Fine Art

Exhibiting Artists
Costume and Fantasy Art Designer
High School Art Teachers
College Art Teachers
Portrait Painter
Director of Design
Gallery Owners
Owner – Film Production Company
Senior Designer for Major Retailer
Visual Coordinator
Museum Curator
Exhibition Designer
Performance Artist
Display Designer
Jewelry Designer
Magazine founder
Non-Profit Director
Non-Profit Coordinator
Ceramics Instructor
Visual Merchandiser
Tee Shirt Designer
Floral Designer
Film Production Art Director

Graphic Design

Graphic Designers
Poster Designer
Web Developers
Senior Designers for Multi-media/Record Label
High School Art Teacher
Art Directors
Project Managers
Creative Directors
Magazine Creative Designer
User Interface Designers
Lead Designer for Apparel Design Company
Book Designers
Design Company Owners
UX/UI Developers
Marketing Communications Manager
Production Artist
MAC Pro Specialists
Interactive Designer
Communications Consultants
Instructional Designer
Principal Designer
Owner – Museum Display Company

Interior Design

Residential Designers
Commercial Designers
Directors of Design
Cakes Decorating Company Owner
Senior Clinical Consultant
Procedural Manager
Cabinet Design Representative
Paint Color Specialist
Non-Profit Director
Fung Shui Specialist
Kitchen & Bath Designers
Purchasing Specialist
Revit Designers
Construction Coordinator
Film Production Designer
Project Managers
CAD Designers
SketchUp Renderers
Museum Designer
Facilities Planning Specialist


Exhibiting Photographers
Commercial Photographer
Wedding Photography Company Owner
Studio Assistants
Creative Artist Agency Assistant
Director of Creative Services
Magazine Photographers
High School Art Teacher
College Photography Instructors
College Digital Art Instructor
Catalog Photographer
U.S. Department of Defense Photographer
Car Dealer In-House Photographer
Studio Owners
Non-Profit Project Coordinator
Book Bindery Studio Owner