Arts Academy graduate prepares for a future in fashion design, credits Interdisciplinary Arts major with providing freedom to explore
Recent alumnus Ferit Sezen (IAA 19-22) and program director Clyde Sheets describe the benefits of studying Interdisciplinary Arts at Interlochen.
When it comes to choosing a major at an arts school, many students are prepared to select a traditional arts discipline: music, creative writing, theatre, dance, music, film, or visual arts. But for students who are talented in multiple areas, or have interests in several programs of study, options may be limited. For these students, a major like Interdisciplinary Arts may be the ideal option. Here, graduating senior Ferit Sezen and program director Clyde Sheets describe the unique opportunities this major affords.
Sezen says that Interlochen’s Interdisciplinary Arts program was a decisive factor for him when choosing which arts boarding school to attend.
“I applied to a bunch of schools in the United States for art," he says. "None of them had anything like Interdisciplinary Arts, where you could explore more than one art form.”
For the teenager from Turkey, freedom to pursue his passions was key.
“I chose Interdisciplinary Arts because it gave me the option to explore what I wanted to do,” says Sezen.
Initially, he took classes in visual arts, theater, dance, and music. As he studied, however, it became increasingly clear that Sezen wanted to narrow his focus to fashion design and theatre. He spent two years putting his talents to use in Interlochen’s costume shop. His favorite class at Interlochen was Experimental Fashion, where students used their choice of materials to design their own creations.
“We had full control over what we were doing,” Sezen remembers fondly.
He found that the disciplines he studied interacted in important ways. His experience with acting and dance influences the way he looks at clothing construction.
“As a designer I care about how the garment moves, and how it looks from this stage or from up close. The details get really important,” he says.
Highlights of his senior year included running a spring fashion show and performing in a one-act play.
Looking back on his Interlochen experience, Sezen speaks warmly of Clyde Sheets, director of the Interdisciplinary Arts program.
“Clyde Sheets has individual meetings with every student in the division. He asks us what we want to do for the year,” says Sezen. “He tries to get everything we need, as much as he can.”
The future is bright for graduates of the program. This fall, Sezen will attend the School of the Art Institute in Chicago with hopes of establishing his own fashion house one day. Sheets isn’t surprised; he believes that many colleges and universities are inclined to look positively on Interdisciplinary Arts students.
“They recognize that the creative field is stronger with people who have diverse backgrounds, diverse abilities, and diverse perspectives on the creative process,” he says.
Sheets works hard to ensure that his students are prepared for life beyond college. In the real world, he says, artists frequently need to collaborate with people who are skilled in other creative disciplines.
“Taking an interdisciplinary approach to your artistic education means that you are building skills across multiple platforms… As an artist, you are always in some kind of dialogue.”
In addition to classes in their chosen fields, Interdisciplinary Arts students are required to complete core classes. These include classes on arts performance and culture, portfolio development, mentored studio work, and arts leadership. Sheets wants students to walk away from the program prepared for a career in any area of the arts.
“They are the next generation of arts leaders,” he says.
Most of all, Sheets hopes that his students will find a deepened purpose through their time at Interlochen.
“It's about guiding students toward the discovery of their true selves and their artistic voices,” says Sheets.
In a program that balances freedom with expert guidance, students are invited to forge their own paths toward success.
Learn more about Interlochen Arts Academy’s Interdisciplinary Arts major.