Writer: Max Crampton-Thomas
2 min read July 2021 — In an interview with Invest:, Executive Vice President of Nossi College of Art Cyrus Vatandoost discussed the creative worker’s place in the economy, and in Nashville especially. As Nashville continues to grow, so grows the need for more creatives, he said. Vatandoost also touched upon a new culinary program that has already gained popularity before it has even started.
What differentiates Nossi from other educational institutions?
Nossi is the only private art college in the state of Tennessee. On top of that, we focus on commercial art: the creative needs for businesses of all sizes. The universities we have here do an incredible job of teaching the fine arts, arts education and theory of design. What we do differently is focus on the hard skills along with professional development. This is very important for this generation because of how they consume media and what their lives are like. We are able to pivot much faster than traditional universities when it comes to incorporating real-world changes in our creative programs. We are smaller, more nimble and able to make changes faster. The industry that we’re in is fast-changing. We can’t spend years making changes to our curriculum; it has to be months.
How does an artistic individual forge a career path?
The creative individual must have a very broad toolbelt to work with. They have to know some coding, they have to understand design, they have to understand what is known as UX UI (user experience, user interaction). So, it’s not like in the past when you’re hired to be just a grip working for a videographer. In our videography degree, we have to teach them how to direct, produce, shoot, light, post-production, motion graphics, and storyboard. We’re looking for people who can do it all, like a Swiss Army Knife. That’s what businesses are looking for. They want a smaller workforce that has a higher skill set. There’s a lot of technical learning. When they get into the workforce, they can deep dive into their area of interest and that’s where, over the years, they develop an understanding of something in particular. Our goal is to produce entry-level graduates into the workforce.
What are the hottest sectors for creative workers?
The job placement percentage rate is different for every degree program obviously. I can tell you that the hottest programs, such as the video and film degree that we offer, is hot because it is short format. What that means is that we teach students how to produce commercials, documentaries and videos for the web. We’re not focused on making full-length movies in Nashville, Tennessee. Even though the concept of how to do it is the same, we focus on the short format. Now, that is in high demand, especially in the Southeast. What you’re seeing now is, with increased bandwidth, everybody wants videos. Every social media site is video-based now. This sort of content production is a huge business.
What makes Nashville a great market for young, artistic individuals?
We all know Nashville is a destination city now. With that comes a lot of unique opportunities. Corporate headquarters are starting to move here. You have the entertainment industry, there is the healthcare industry, and Big Tech is coming here. There are various different industries and, in all of them, there is a place for creative individuals. Even manufacturing requires creative individuals for their marketing departments, so we teach marketing illustration. Nashville, though, is especially strong because of the community. Nashville’s heart is small, in that everybody knows everybody, or knows somebody who knows somebody. The networking opportunities are really fantastic here.
What new programs are you particularly excited about?
We have a new culinary arts degree program. There’s not really a program like that in Nashville. We’re going to be the first high-level culinary arts degree program in a city, no less, that is a foodie city. The reaction that we’ve been getting from the restaurant owners and restaurant groups is that they’re ready for our graduates. We haven’t even started the program yet and they’re ready to hire our graduates. We have internships lined up, we have partnerships lined up, we have an incredible advisory board filled with incredible chefs and restaurant owners. The buzz around what we’re doing here is really exciting.
We’re super-optimistic about the next three to five years and we know that Nashville is going to keep growing. What we’ve heard from the restaurant industry is that they can’t sustain getting chefs from New York, Chicago or Charleston; they need homegrown talent. That’s what we hope to provide.
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