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December 14, 2023

Giving supports arts journey

Brittany Lyn Batchelder ’19 and two cards from her forthcoming publication, The Avian Tarot. Images of cards courtesy of Batchelder and Chronicle Books.

By Lydia Mandell

Brittany Lyn Batchelder ’19 earned her BFA in Illustration and today is a practicing artist in Hooksett, New Hampshire. Not only that, but she’s about to become a published author. Along her creative journey, fostering community and bringing it into her artistic practice have been essential.

Batchelder’s forthcoming publication, The Avian Tarot, started as her BFA and is now set to be published by Chronicle Books in December. It includes 78 tarot cards and a 220-page guidebook, but significantly, The Avian Tarot brought together her illustrative skills and her love for research. Each bird’s documented history—which concerns esoteric, theological and even scientific writing—was taken into consideration when aligning them with the original arcana.

Getting to the point of publication is no simple task, and Batchelder recognizes the necessity for financial and emotional support as a professional artist. So, she decided to make her first donation to CIA.

“My second publication is currently in the process of finding a home to get published, so I know how difficult it can be after the college experience. It is very competitive, especially in the arts, and just trying to keep moving forward and hone your craft while balancing other responsibilities can be very, very difficult,” she says. “So, I felt [motivated to] financially give back to the College to support students not only with their tuition but also to support them on their creative journey even after they graduate.”

Having a creative network is something Batchelder finds of the utmost importance for artists. To build that support, she established the Granite State Creatives, a small, casual group for art lovers, artists and people interested in creative awareness in New Hampshire. The necessity to have such a group arose from her time at CIA and in Greater Cleveland’s arts community.

“The reason why I loved Cleveland is that the art scene was a lot more present. Whereas in New Hampshire, not so much. So, I’m basically providing my local community with the knowledge that I gained from living in Cleveland [and] being exposed to different kinds of creatives,” she says. “And with the experience that I have from there, [I am] able to provide opportunities to people here who otherwise didn’t have that same opportunity [for an artistic learning community] that I had when I was their age. I act as a tutor and a mentor.”

What advice does Batchelder have for fellow alumni who might consider joining her in supporting young creatives at CIA?

“If there’s anything I’ve learned from being in the workforce for four years now, it’s that when you give back, you’re helping others—and in turn, you can receive something in return. Not exactly toward your specific endeavors, per se. It’s just being connected, being with people and having that support system that makes all the difference in the world.”

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