Faces of Rhodes

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Joey Thibeault ′14

Hometown: Barnstable, Massachusetts (Cape Cod)
Major: International Business and Art History

Extracurricular activities: Woolsocks, Rhodes Singers, co-president Rhodes Satire Magazine, Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies participant 2013

Tell the story of how you got to Rhodes College.

I first heard about Rhodes from Colleges That Change Lives by Loren Pope. It was around the time that my older brother was looking at colleges, but my dad thought that it would be a better fit for me. He suggested it to me as "a school that looks like it’s in the northeast, but has nicer weather." When I visited and toured the campus I, much like every visitor, thought that the campus was beautiful. But the thing that really sold me on Rhodes was something between Southern hospitality and a healthy concern for members of the community. The people I met were friendly, but also seemed to genuinely care about each other and the school as a whole. It’s an infectious attitude that pervades our campus and culture.

How have you changed since beginning your studies at Rhodes?

I have gained the capacity to grow facial hair and have exercised that privilege. More specific to Rhodes, I have had opportunities that extend past my double major. For example, this past summer I painted portraits of local Memphians through my participation in the Rhodes Institute for Regional Studies. I was able to meet a wide variety of people, ranging from a gentleman who was present at the 1968 sanitation worker′s strike, which was pivotal in the civil rights movement, to the woman who acts as unofficial mayor of my neighborhood, to five young sisters active in the Rhodes-affiliated Emerging Artist Theater Camp, to a recent Rhodes graduate who hails from Memphis. It was a truly fulfilling experience to actively engage in our city and community through art.

I′ve also been able to co-found a humor magazine with fellow senior Anna Lockhart. Again, though not directly connected to my major, we were able to create an organization, and soon a publication, that hadn′t existed at Rhodes. Hopefully, it will circulate some smiles on campus.

How did you decide to double major in art history and international business?

With the firm support for interdisciplinary study at Rhodes, it was a pretty easy decision. I′ve always had a passion for art and art-making. I even applied to art school. When I was rejected, it was a blessing in disguise. My Dad told me that it was a good thing because it meant that "I would get an education for my whole mind." Though I think he meant it as a consolation more than anything, he was right. I wouldn′t have been able to receive a holistic business education had I gone to art school. Though the two sides of my brain are constantly at war, I′m glad that I′m able to engage in two completely different areas of study and get the most of my short four years here. 

Though it’s no surprise that art history and international business don′t often overlap, I′ve been able to draw from both when looking at the international art market. More often, I′ll find strange connections between art history and things I learned in Search from freshman year, or songs we sing in choir. I get excited when I can make those connections. I guess that makes me a nerd, but I hope it also makes me an interesting guest at future cocktail parties.

What are your future career goals?

I′d love to be an international art broker. I′ll be applying to masters programs in art business this year, one of which is offered through Sotheby′s and located in New York City or London, England. Being an international art broker would entail finding artworks for auction and working with sellers to either auction off the pieces or sell them directly to a buyer. With a double major in art history and international business, I would be able to know a great deal about the art works and their significance, but also know about the conditions of the market.

Compiled by Lauren Albright ′16

Tags: Art and Art History, Commerce and Business, Massachusetts