Taylor Saraiva Starts Career that Combines Art Talent with Theater Love
For alumna Taylor Saraiva ’14, her art & art history major with a studio art minor opened the door into a career in the theater, doing what she loves. This opportunity was quite a surprise for her though, considering she didn’t think there was a chance her two passions between art and theater would collide in her career.
“I think I thought of theater as a passion that I could never really have a job in,” said Saraiva. “And I am not sure why it didn’t cross my mind before. In theater, there are so many different facets of art. It’s really fun and you get to work with people who are so talented in each area. It energizes me.”
Saraiva currently works as the scene shop craftsperson at Sight & Sound Theatre in Lancaster, Pa. However, it was a path full of twists and turns leading up to this position. Initially, when she graduated, Saraiva spent her first two years freelancing. She did art commissions, but also spent a lot of time helping out with small local and high school theater groups.
Saraiva did a lot of scenic design and painting work at various places such as Cedar Cliff High School, Little Theater of Mechanicsburg, Palmyra High School, and even with LVC’s own theater group Wig and Buckle Theater Company. Apart from this, Saraiva also gained some experience working with Gretna Theatre as a props master.
She noted that she began to see the connection between what she learned as an art major while she was at Gretna Theater in 2014. She felt prepared for this position particularly by her art history courses.
“As a props master, you had to make things,” said Saraiva. “So, I was able to use my creativity and all the crafts I had learned, especially the art history part. We did Camelot and Little Shop of Horrors, so it was really useful.”
In addition to her coursework, Saraiva also found the flexibility at LVC allowed her to learn multiple skills that have proven useful in her work at Sight and Sound Theaters. During her junior and senior years, her art professors worked to create independent studies that would focus on skill sets she wanted to learn. Today she credits those studies as having helped her move outside her comfort zone and learn new mediums in art that come in handy for different types of shows.
During her undergraduate studies, Saraiva was also a member of Wig and Buckle Theater Company. Before college, she mostly did acting. But her involvement in the group’s productions actually introduced Saraiva to backstage work and learning more about theater beyond acting. Plus, since the group is student-run, she was able to use its productions as a ground for experimenting.
“That flexibility was huge because I was able to go out into the real world and come back to a safe space and try out a bunch of new things,” said Saraiva. “Anything I learned outside of LVC, I was able to try and test in Wig and Buckle. I thought it was awesome that I was given that flexibility to do my work.”
Ultimately this flexibility is perhaps what she attributes to her success at Sight & Sound Theatre. She began solely working in painting. Yet eventually the company moved her to a part-time props décor person because of the experiences she had accumulated with theater.
“I think being an art major helped,” said Saraiva. “It’s broad and you’re able to do a bunch of work and not just be tied down to one area.”
Today she is happy to be the current scene shop craftsperson, as the position was created specifically for her and no one else holds that title. Her job allows her to jump around and work in paint, props décor, and certain special projects at Sight & Sound Theatre.
So, if there is any lesson to be learned from Saraiva, it is that you never know what type of opportunities a flexible art education will provide. Plus hobbies at The Valley may just lead to a future career after graduation.