Creating a Better Way

Clifton Alexander’s path from an arts high school to the profession he loves is less surprising than Dobrina’s or Teissia’s. A native Californian and 1995 Idyllwild graduate who majored in Visual Art and went on to the Kansas City Art Institute to study graphic design, Clifton built a design business that has become a permanent fixture in Kansas City.

He complained when his parents enrolled him in Idyllwild Arts twenty-five years ago.

“I was into sports, so the kids running around with purple hair took time to get used to.”

Some of the banks, law firms, and other corporate clients that his business re-brands and markets may not appreciate purple hair, either. But they certainly value the “way of thinking you learn in an environment centered on creativity,” Clifton says.

“You’re trained to think differently: to think there’s always a better way. What can we do next? What is nobody else doing?”

Clifton is a living demonstration of what arts education is good for.


Learning to Act and to Read People

Teissia_Treynet Teissia Treynet’s profession also demands customized treatment of each client. However, as with Dobrina, seeing the link between Teissia’s work and her Idyllwild education requires imagination—until her excited explanation spills out.

Teissia is another 2002 Academy graduate, but in Theatre, with an emphasis on Acting. The passion for the stage that she had brought from her New Mexico home drove her to Chicago’s DePaul University and a Theatre degree, then back to Southern California. While filming a part in a movie, Teissia met the Development Director of a nonprofit, who hired her to plan fundraisers.

The question of a link to an Idyllwild Arts education comes up again. What did the woman see in Teissia to convince her that a young, aspiring actor could do the job? Teissia, who left the nonprofit world several years ago and now plans high-end weddings from her own company’s Manhattan and Los Angeles offices, happily elaborates.

“Learning acting as a discipline teaches you to read people.”

If the intense study of people that enables actors to get inside a character can help an event planner understand her clients’ desires, specializing in Theatre also prepared Teissia for her new career in other ways. Even those Idyllwild Theatre majors focused on acting must study theatre’s technical, production, and business aspects.

“I learned about opening a theatre and putting together a business plan for it, and set design gave me the design bug that helps me give a client the aesthetic she wants for her wedding: romantic, edgy, super-modern. . . You know, putting on a wedding can be as exciting as the opening night of a play!”