Taking a Shot: Photographer Sarah Thomas takes new position at BGSU

Over the last decade, Sarah Thomas has made a name for herself as a professional photographer. The Sylvania Northview graduate developed a passion for visual art at an early age, and her hard work is paying off. Since graduating from BGSU in 2013 with a degree in two-dimensional studies, Thomas’s professional life has been all things art and photography. 

A Perfect Fit

In 2020 she took a position teaching college photography classes at her alma mater. This summer she was offered a position as the photography and digital media lab technician – making her a more permanent fixture at the university. 

Much of her new job “has a lot to do with what I already practice, technically and professionally,” Thomas explained. “I manage and provide resources to students in the print lab and media center – where they can check out equipment for projects. The department has really grown a lot since I’ve been there.” 

Lived Experience 

After finishing college, Thomas spent several years working various art-related jobs –  For a while, she painted alongside muralist Matt Taylor (hellomrtaylor.com) – known for such projects as the Love Wall on Adams Street, and numerous other mural projects around town. 

In 2016 she moved to Washington DC and spent a couple years working at the National Gallery of Art. “I worked my way to an imaging position – working with designers and printmakers to get images of items from the museum collection placed on various products”, said Thomas. While she feels it was a great experience, she said that “it was my first taste of a 9 to 5 working environment, and I’m not meant to work in a cubicle setting.” 

In 2018, she decided to take on grad school, attending the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. “That was an amazing opportunity,” said Thomas. “The space is small, but you get close to everyone. Having that type of practice with so many others who are involved in their passions, really pushes the boundaries. It was very rewarding.” 

Change of Plans

Feeling inspired by her experience at Cranbrook, she made plans to stay in the Detroit area after finishing school. But when the pandemic hit, all of that changed and she found herself back in Toledo. Fresh out of graduate school, her college mentor, associate professor emeritus Lynne Whitney, recommended her for the teaching position. 

This fall will be her third year. “I like teaching a lot more than I thought I would,” said Thomas. “I’m teaching from intro all the way to advanced classes, and am excited to teach the seniors this year because I’ve grown with them.” 

Staying Busy

Some of Thomas’s other contributions to the local and regional art community include having worked with the Young Artists At Work (YAAW) through the Arts Commission. Aside from that, “I’ve been working a bit doing design work with nonprofits in the community – helping them learn how to document their artwork,” Thomas explains. “That’s my favorite side hustle because I feel I’m helping the community.” 

Earlier this summer, she juried the first ever Pride Show for the Findlay Art League. “That was really an honor,” she tells us. “It was a monumental event for them, and I was excited to be a part of that.” 

Going Solo

While Thomas has been a part of numerous exhibitions, her first ever solo show will run from October through November at the Upper Iowa University’s Bing-Davis Memorial Gallery. 

For more information, visit: uiu.edu/art-on-campus/bing-davis-memorial-gallery