Arts and media students benefit from Barnes Agency

Students in Marshall University’s College of Arts and Media are taking full advantage of the opportunities offered by a local, full-service advertising, marketing and public relations firm.

Within the past year, the Barnes Agency has established a scholarship in the college, moved a digital studio into the new Visual Arts Center downtown and implemented a formal internship program exclusively for students who are pursuing degrees from the School of Art and Design.

Mary Grassell, program director and professor at the School of Art and Design, said, “Having the Barnes Agency as part of the Visual Arts Center has to be unprecedented in the area.”

“Our design students are able to straddle both worlds: learning design at an art school and practicing design with the internships and scholarships that have been offered to the school by Barnes,” Grassell said. “Our design students are indeed fortunate to have this agency in a place where they pass every day and are able to see it at work.”

Jeff Barnes, president and CEO of the Barnes Agency, said the scholarship and internship program are the agency’s way of aiding students who plan to enter the industry.

“I just felt like, any opportunity we have to support the program and support prospective students, we have a fiduciary responsibility to do that,” Barnes said. “We realize the cost of college education continues to increase. We know there are a lot of talented people out there who would love to have an opportunity to be educated in graphic design, but they just don’t have funding. We just wanted to do our part to provide opportunities for students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to afford it.”

Barnes said the internship program is mutually beneficial to the agency and the students.

“Our interns are doing real work with real clients. There’s no substitute for that experience,” Barnes said. “Being located at the epicenter of creative education is a perfect match for the Barnes Agency.”

One of the first students to benefit from the internship program is Ashley Taylor, senior graphic design student.

“I like walking in to new challenges every day, and am grateful to have this experience before graduation,” Taylor said. “What I’ve learned more than anything so far from this internship is that the professors and teachers really were preparing us for the real working world; even things I learned in foundations that I never thought I would need have come in handy.”

“Jeff Barnes and the professionals at the Barnes Agency are an invaluable resource to us all,” Grassell said. “We are thankful to them for this opportunity for us and for our students.”

To learn more about the Barnes Agency, visit For more information about the School of Art and Design,