Sharon Massey

Sharon Massey

When Sharon Massey was a student in middle school, she had an art teacher whose passion was obvious. Massey absorbed some of that passion, and it led her to a career in IUP’s Department of Art and Design, where she specializes in jewelry and metals. Learn more about her in this week’s installment of Meet Our Faculty.

What is it about art that initially drew you in—and ultimately keeps you interested?

I was initially drawn to art by an exceptional teacher in middle school, someone who I’m still in contact with today. I remain interested, because art is always evolving to reflect cultural and technological shifts in society, and so there is a constant influx of ideas, materials, techniques, and personalities to engage with.

Your specialty is jewelry and metals. How did you end up in that area, and why are you passionate about it?

I was fortunate to attend an arts high school, where I took my first metals class in the 10th grade, and I worked for a bench jeweler after I graduated, learning more traditional goldsmithing techniques. Although I explored many other mediums while in college, I always preferred the precision and small scale of jewelry. It’s a very rewarding field, with an active international community and lots of exhibition and sales opportunities. I’m especially interested in emerging technologies and experimental techniques.

What advice would you give students about how to succeed in college?

I would encourage students to take advantage of as many extracurricular opportunities as possible, like guest speakers, exhibitions, student organizations, trips, grant applications, workshops, etc., because these types of opportunities are not as available or as affordable after graduation, and they can provide experiences that help guide career and life decisions.

I would also suggest finding at least one faculty mentor whom you can connect with beyond the classroom, whether that’s assisting with a research project or just meeting to talk during office hours. Most faculty are here because they want their students to succeed, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and work with them whenever possible.