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News . Feature Stories . Diving into the CIA Community: Q + A with Interior Architecture major Shriya Garg


September 17, 2015

Diving into the CIA Community: Q + A with Interior Architecture major Shriya Garg

By Alyssa Brown

From a young age, Shriya Garg has had a passion and talent for art. She fondly remembers her mother bringing home huge boxes of crayons and colored pencils, which Garg used to draw all over the walls. Instead of attempting to rein in those examples of her artistic exuberance, Garg’s parents preserved it, and her earliest work still decorates the walls of her former family home.

As she grew older, Garg took art classes outside of her normal academic schedule, and participated in summer art school at Parsons School of Design. While her family lives in India, Garg is attending CIA, and will earn her BFA in Interior Architecture in May, 2016.

Garg has grown fond of all that Cleveland has to offer, like the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and Cleveland Museum of Art for the University Circle area in general.

Planning to pursue an MFA after graduation, Garg spends her time on school work and freelance projects, and spent the summer interning at Chute Gerdeman, an award-winning retail design and branding company in Columbus. Now, a senior Interior Architecture major, Garg reminisces on her past three years at CIA, and looks ahead to the future.

What made you choose CIA?

I got accepted into 5 different schools. One was University of the Arts London. After really looking into them all, I realized CIA provided me with everything I needed. They have classroom time, and the student to teacher ratio is amazing. I think I learned more than I would ever learn from any other place, and what drew me more is that you get a studio space. Personal, small community.

What do you think is so important about having your own studio space?

It allows me to have my own work hours. It’s really a comfort thing. My studio setup is similar to the one I have at home.

How about the interaction with classmates? How important is that to you?

We support each other. For example, we are doing our BFA thesis now. With that, we brainstorm, and we help each other build our presentations and projects. Their input is really important because an outside view on what you’re doing always helps you make your work better than it is. Having friends and people in my studio learning the same thing helps a lot, and we are a team.

How are your relationships with CIA faculty different from relationships with your high school teachers?

I think CIA faculty are really supportive. I’ve come across a bunch of problems and they always helped me. (Department Chair) Mike Gollini’s work experience helps us a lot. We’re ready for internships and jobs because of the things he shares with us. And really, being an international student and having that is a bonus. You always need someone to talk to, and having a teacher you can interact with has been really helpful.

What did you learn in your internship at Chute Gerdeman?

Originally I was going to go into set design, but now I’m looking into visual merchandising. It’s kind of like building sets for retail stores and restaurants. It’s something that I was drawn to in my internship. We did a sponsored project with Chute Gerdeman, and they were trying to assign me a team based off of my interest, which was set design. They ended up assigning me a team, visual merchandising, and over my internship I understood the process more. It’s something that was more involved, more interactive, and it was something I realized I really wanted to dive into. My education at CIA really helped prepare me, because the things I learned in class are things that happen in the industry.

What was one thing about the CIA experience that surprised you the most?

Everyone knows your name here. It makes you feel more welcomed and wanted. In other schools, you feel lost, and being an international student, being wanted and recognized is something that makes you feel like you can stay there longer.

What would you say to a high school student attending CIA?’

Dive into all the experiences. Don’t have any expectations. Come in with a free mind and absorb anything you experience. Make a lot of friends - they will help you with your work. This school makes you feel like you’re a part of a community.

Brown is a marketing intern.

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CIA alumna Josette Galiano’s passion lies in exploring behavior and designing immersive experiences. Fittingly, she’s a consumer insights analyst at @NottinghamSpirk​ and a designer at Florette by Josette​.

about 8 hours ago via Twitter


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