Alumnus Brandon Vernon, a 2017 MFA in Visual Communication graduate, is currently a resident graphic designer and was recently promoted to marketing director for the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore, MD.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary season, the “Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is an amazing place,” described Vernon. Along with recreating classical works from a variety of authors, the company also maintains a successful education department with student matinee productions for thousands of school children across Maryland.
“I started as CSC’s Marketing Assistant in 2018, and through a series of wild events (which includes keeping the department going throughout the 2020 pandemic and helping the theatre reopen in 2021), I worked my way up to the role of director,” stated Vernon.
Vernon’s main objective as the marketing director is promoting the theatre and all its ventures. His responsibilities include creating marketing campaigns; communicating with advertisers, press, and patrons; and running and managing the company’s social media and website. He also oversees the company’s box office and ticket sales.
When asked about his favorite memory of his time at JSU, Vernon said, “It’s hard to pick; there are so many! I certainly have fond memories of my times in Hammond Hall and working with my fellow grad students.”
He also had a difficult time choosing a favorite professor or class, but he will always be grateful to the Art & Design Department’s faculty. He gives credit to Professor Seth Johnson for guidance throughout his time at JSU, Professor Jamie Runnels for convincing him to learn Indesign, and Professor Chad Anderson for his “amazing” typography lessons. He also credits Dr. Tim King for his “amazing experience” working as a grad assistant in the Student Affairs Office. “He and Miss Jeanie were so kind. Their support and belief in me meant so much,” said Vernon.
Vernon says the grad program at JSU helped him in many ways, including teaching him how to be a self-sufficient artist and how to promote himself. He learned a variety of aspects of his craft, helping him become a “one-man-band of sorts,” and this has been very beneficial to him in his current position.
Vernon advises current students to be open to new experiences. “Make the hard choices that absolutely terrify you. You will come out stronger in the end,” he advised.