Written by: Ella Funk, grade nine student


“I don’t want to be a poor starving artist living in a garret.”

“That was my high school yearbook quote,” Vivian Orr tells me. I smile. Being in the arts industry isn’t easy. But her job seems to be a particularly manageable one.

Ella with a piece from “Wearable Art 3” — “Xavier” by Jason Glasrud.

Today is November first, National Take Your Kid to Work Day. It’s a day when all grade nine students go to work with their parents and see if that job is one they would like to do when they grow up. My parents are both teachers, and they figured I knew enough about school and teachers already. So, here I was, talking to a woman whom I had met only once before (it’s a long story). She was a graphic designer. And I had a lot of questions for her.

We start the morning by discussing how she got to the Saskatchewan Craft Council, where she works. She has a degree from a program in Montreal that no longer exists. She has worked freelance, for advertising agencies, newspapers, and organizations like the SCC. She is extremely experienced with designing; with computers and without. She tells me that a photography credit, along with Photoshop experience would be useful if I go into graphic design. She also explains the programs that she uses for certain tasks. With all this in mind, we get to work.

The first job on her list is always to check emails. Then she knows if there’s anything new that she needs to do, or if a printing company has proofs to for her to review. She reminds me that being polite to your printing company is a must, because one needs good relationships with these companies. She says that at some point you will have a request that you need done quickly, and if the good relationship is there, the company is more likely to do it.

Nativity scene by Parsons Dietrich Pottery, available in the SCC Fine Craft Boutique.

Next, we had some photography to do. There was a nativity scene of ceramic clay that they wanted to promote. So, we went to their photo booth and took some pictures. There were so many small details that went into one picture. Every angle needed to be perfect and precise. But, the result was a very aesthetically pleasing image. I was shocked at how perfectly the picture’s colours resembled the real thing.

Then, we went back to the office. She gave me a portion of a press release to write for an upcoming event. I saw how editing really does happen in a workplace. The piece that I wrote was approved by Vivian, and then needed a signature of approval from another staff member. I didn’t ask about her job, but I know all projects had to be approved by her. We then sent it to the other organizations that they are collaborating with. And before I knew it, it was lunch time.

After Lunch, Vivian had some projects to work on. I watched as she made a brochure, reviewed some posters for print, and made a Facebook event banner. Promoting both the SCC and any events that they have is a big part of her job. It’s hard to run an organization if no one knows it exists.

At the end of the day, I get a chance to ask her a few more questions. I asked about her favourite and least favourite parts of her job. I asked about what I could do, right now, to start on the right path. And with today’s experience, I think I already have.