Byron Anway '04

Noteworthy campus activity or achievement

I played guitar in a number of on-campus bands including Jiff and the Choosey Moms and The Polyesthers. I was also in choir for 2 years (Norsemen and Cathedral Choir).

Favorite book you read in undergrad?

I read Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre in Philosophical Questions with Storm Bailey. I was a first semester freshman and Nausea was the first book I had read that had implications beyond just the story line. I remember being totally frustrated, wrestling with existential conundrums and one of my classmates said, 'It's called philosophical questions, NOT philosophical answers!'

What are you up to now?

These days I live and work in Lincoln, Nebraska at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an adjunct art instructor teaching drawing, painting, and foundations design. I work at Nebraska Wesleyan University managing the Elder Art Gallery, installing exhibitions and coordinating student workers. I also maintain Wesleyan's permanent art collection. I make paintings in my brand new 1,200 square foot painting studio. I also play guitar and sing in a '70's style garage rock band called Red Cities. You can buy our 4 song EP or like us on Facebook.

What are some of the most valuable skills you gained from Luther?

When I was graduating in 2004 I didn't know what to do. Jim Langholz suggested I apply for a job as an early childhood intern at the International School of Brussels in Belgium. I got that job and next year worked in Morocco at the American Academy, Casablanca teaching art for another year. So, my brief career teaching overseas I give credit to Luther for.

The second thing that Luther gave me was tremendous support when I decided to move on from K-12 art to teaching at the college level. I didn't know how to go about it, so I loaded up my art and drove to Decorah and stayed with Richard Merritt for a couple of days and we made a plan for how I could apply to graduate school, what residencies and shows to apply for, and how I could edit my writings to clarify my point of view on the applications. So, in the end, what I received from Luther was a community. My skills as an educator have also been tremendously valuable in finding employment no matter where I have moved.

What is your advice for Luther students knowing what you know now?

I cannot count the number of people who have warned me how hard it is to have a career in the arts. People love to say that there is no money in art. First off, it's not true. Second, I think its more valuable to encourage sustained reflection and self-analysis about the choices students make than to attempt to scare students away from goals that can be statistically difficult to achieve. The best thing that I have done when thinking about my career is to keep a written record of thoughts, ideas, books, activities, and conversations or anything that I find intellectually stimulating or appealing. I have found that if I go back through these notes periodically, that my professional choices have worked out well and I generally know what to do.

Students should also know that the world is full of successful people with experience in your field that want to help young people get started in their chosen profession. I have received a tremendous amount of help from successful people everywhere I have been. Be proactive; reach out and find these people. Meet your community. Take them out to lunch. They have been where you are and want to help promising young professionals on their way towards a career.

Recent work by Byron Anway can be viewed on his website