Cover....Acknowledgements....Class Photos....Student Life....Extracurricular Activities

You don't have to be You

Many artists struggle to find a balance between making art and keeping a day job.  The security of employment is a reality and necessity for many artists (including myself).  I have worked at the front desk of the Art Department office for the past year. Within that time, I began to question whether creativity must be separate from business.  As a face of both the Art Department and of an artist assimilated into the business world, I wanted to serve as a role model for art students and community members.  I transformed my job into a work of art to demonstrate that artists can be creative in any endeavor. I fully embraced office life, began calling myself "The Secretary" and purchased a closet full of vintage secretary blouses and pencil skirts.  I wanted to acknowledge my job position and its history while simultaneously charging it with my own artistic vision. People were intrigued by my representation of “The Secretary”, but I realized I needed to take it to the next level.

So, for the first day of the school year, I transformed into a Beatnik, the quintessential image of the bohemian.  No longer would I be just a secretary; I would be an artist.  The reaction was overwhelming.  It fueled such great conversations that I decided to dress as a different character each week.  So "Dress Up Wednesdays" were born.

"Dress Up Wednesdays" has been made possible from support of Madison Arts Commission, the University of Wisconsin Art Department, family and friends.
We would be nothing without you.

Little Miss Secretary

For more work by Melissa Cooke, please visit
All images and materials are licensed under a Creative Commons License