Juliet Irving, 2019 App State Graduate: A Multimedia Designer in the Performance World

BOONE, NC – Appalachian State University alumnus Juliet Irving 2019 embarked on a freelance career as a multimedia designer, combining her passions – the performing arts, graphic design and social justice.

“It makes such a difference that only one person believes in you. But having multiple people supporting you? It’s been life changing.

Juliet Irving ’19, a freelance multimedia designer, reflecting on her mentors at App State.

As a dancer and choreographer, artist and social justice advocate, Irving has used her mixed perspective to design a website for a cross-cultural dance collective, Indigo Yard Gals; a virtual exhibit titled Black Lives Matter: Brazil–USA; and virtual sets for a production of Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” – featuring directors, cast and crew members who are people of color, including Black and Indigenous.

“The artists and dancers I’ve worked with appreciate someone who can come in and immediately understand their needs and priorities. I know their vocabulary and we share a language,” Irving said.

Irving said she never expected to work in web design, but her experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic sparked new interests and helped her hone new skills, out of necessity.

After graduating from App State, she attended Duke University, where she earned an MFA in dance. While there, she had the opportunity to consult as a designer for the exhibition Black Lives Matter: Brazil–USA – an examination of the parallels in the pursuit of racial justice between the two Western Hemisphere countries with the largest populations of African descent.

“It was meant to be a gallery-walking experience,” Irving said. “Then COVID happened. We had to turn everything into a virtual exhibition.

With the shift to online delivery, Irving said she transferred ideas designed for print into digital forms and worked on a full-scale website for the first time. Since then, she has expanded her work in the field and has designed websites and virtual material for several clients.

Juliet Irving ’19 earned a dual degree from Appalachian State University: a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Studies. She created this graphic as a promotion for her thesis performance at Duke University, where she earned an MFA. Irving works as a freelance multimedia designer and lives in Batesburg, South Carolina. Graphic courtesy of Juliet Irving

Making a mark at App State

Irving, who was a member of App State’s Honors College, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Studies. While participating in App State, Irving:

Irving said dancing has always been a part of his life. “Growing up, dancing gave me a voice and felt like the most natural way to express myself,” she shared.

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Appalachian State University alumnus Juliet Irving ’19 performing in An Evening of Dance held in Durham in September 2021. Photo submitted

In high school, she enrolled in a Photoshop course. “I liked it so much that I asked my instructor what careers could use these skills. He told me about graphic design,” she said.

She looked for a university with strong performing arts and graphic design programs and found App State. She planned a visit, and the moment she set foot on campus, it “felt great,” Irving said.

Earning the Wilson Scholarship allowed Irving to attend App State — an out-of-state school for the South Carolina native — and opened many doors for her.

During his senior year, Irving discovered an inaugural master’s degree program at Duke University.

“The graphic design and dance programs at App State laid the foundation for the interdisciplinary work I did during my master’s program at Duke,” Irving said.

“It makes such a difference that only one person believes in you,” Irving said. “But having multiple people supporting you? It was life changing.

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Juliet Irving - Six Weeks of Dance

Six weeks of consecutive lessons, evening performances, nocturnal discussions. Six weeks of bonding, sharing sweat, creating art. Six weeks of exploring limits, questioning conventions, broadening perspectives. Check out Juliet’s six-week experience at Duke University for the American Dance Festival.

Juliet Irving '19 with Honors Joins 1st MFA Cohort in Dance at Duke

October 10, 2019

Honor College’s Juliet Irving ’19 joins the first cohort of the MFA in Dance: Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis program at Duke University’s Rubenstein Art Center. In this program, which aims to “develop dance as a transformative social force”, Irving intends to focus on his choreographic work.

“The opportunities I received allowed me to explore my passions and develop a sense of who I am and who I want to be as a person. major, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be labeled as an “arts” major. Over the years, I’ve learned that being involved in the arts doesn’t mean I have less credibility than a business major. This Wilson scholarship has helped me realize that art and dance are my passions, and I’ve learned to be okay with that.”

About the Department of Theater and Dance

The Department of Theater and Dance is one of seven departments of the Appalachian College of Fine and Applied Arts. Its mission is to facilitate transformative experiences for students and audiences that cultivate compassionate, creative, and collaborative communities through theater and dance. The department also offers arts-integrated learning courses to the general university student population. Its dynamic extracurricular production program provides exemplary theater and dance experiences for students in the department, the university community and the region. Learn more at https://theatreanddance.appstate.edu.

About the Art Department

One of seven departments in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, Appalachian State University’s Department of Art prepares students to explore art, identity, expression, and creative problem solving while challenging them to go beyond their previous limitations by discovering new connections with Culture. The department offers degrees in Art and Visual Culture, Art Education, Graphic Design, Studio Art, Commercial Photography, and Graphic Communications Management, with minors in Art History, Studio Art, Commercial Photography, and Graphic Arts and Technology imagery. Learn more at http://www.art.appstate.edu.

About the College of Fine and Applied Arts

The College of Fine and Applied Arts at Appalachian State University is a dynamic and innovative group of seven academic departments, bringing together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and real-world education to provide unique opportunities for student success. The college has over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate majors. Its departments are Applied Design, Art, Communication, Military Science and Leadership, Sustainable Development, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment, and Theater and Dance. Learn more at https://faa.appstate.edu.

About the Specialized College

More than 500 students are enrolled in Appalachian State University’s Honors College, which serves a diverse group of high-achieving, high-potential, and highly motivated students from all majors. The Honors College helps students develop independent and creative thinking and high-level research skills; promotes interdisciplinary research; and nurtures a cultured and benevolent exchange of ideas. The college’s enhanced academic experience prepares students for success in graduate or professional study and to take on leadership roles in their lives, communities, and careers. Learn more at https://honors.appstate.edu.

About Appalachian State University

As the Southeast’s premier public undergraduate institution, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead meaningful lives as global citizens who understand and take responsibility for creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to gain and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and purpose, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system. Appalachia is home to nearly 21,000 students, has a low student-faculty ratio, and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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