Alumni Spotlight

Edgar Harden ’93
Private Art & Wine Consultant

Major: Whittier Scholars Program, Western Humanities

Activities: Sachsen Society, Water Polo, Choir, Wind Ensemble, Omicron Delta Kappa  

What first attracted you to Whittier? The College’s west coast location (I'm from Vancouver), small size, Whittier Scholars Program, and scholarship

Why did you choose to study art?  I'd always loved the hands-on aspect of making art up until that point, more sculpture than drawing or painting, and it also added some valuable background to the study of art history - how works were actually made.

Describe your experience at Whittier College. What was your favorite class? Whittier was great for me because it is a small institution; I flourished academically, played a sport, had a great social life, and it was only a two-hour flight from home. As for my favorite class, it’s a toss-up between Professor David Sloan's sculpture class, Professor Danny Lozano's jazz class (and studying flute with him), and Professor Praetorius's "What is Reality?" class.

Did you intern while at Whittier College? Where, and what was that experience like?  I interned at the Walter's Art Gallery in Baltimore during the summer between my sophomore and junior years and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington during the summer after graduation. These were both wonderful but very different experiences, partly because of where I was in my studies and as a person and partly because the museums were drastically different in size. It was very important to see what a complex arts organization was like in the real world and to see that art history was just a small part of the skill set needed to work there.

What was your first job after Whittier? What are you currently up to? How has your Whittier education benefited you professionally?  My first job after Whittier was as a paid intern at the Louvre in Paris during the summer between the two years of my MA; this was in the summer of 1995, two years after I graduated from Whittier. For 10 1/2 years, I have been a private art and wine consultant, and now I am moving more into antique spirits. My Whittier education has benefited me professionally less for the facts I learned than for the way we were taught to answer questions and approach problems; this has proved invaluable.

What advice would you give to future art alumni when they graduate? Throughout your tenure at Whittier, think about what you are studying and what you want to do professionally once you leave Whittier and then weave them together through your course selection and summer internships; don't take a year off after Whittier to figure out what you want to do - the world moves too fast now and you will be left behind. Above all, don't just learn from your art professors in class, talk to them about art in the real world; they know a lot.

 Finish this sentence: I am a ‘Poet for Life’ because…  Whenever I come back to campus, it feels like home.

-Are you a graduate of the Department of Art & Art History and want to share your story? Contact the Office of Communications at therock@whittier.edu.