Behind the Scenes at HITS: Elizabeth McClain
Elizabeth McClain, Assistant Art Director at HITS, Inc. since 2012, will soon begin the first quarter of her two-year graduate program at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she will pursue her MFA in Themed Entertainment Design. Her four years of hard work shed light on what goes on behind-the-scenes at the horse show and how involved HITS staff members really are with every nuance of horse show operations.
After graduating with her BFA in Communications Design from Syracuse University, McClain returned home to Saugerties, NY, where she accepted a job in the HITS offices. “I’ve always thought horses were very cool,” she says, “but I didn’t know much about them.” All that changed when she was thrust headfirst into the equestrian world, designing everything from entry blanks to prize lists to truck wraps.
McClain will begin her MFA program in September
Joining the HITS Art Department was her first job after graduating from college, so much of her learning was done in action. “I learned how a company operates from the inside,” she begins. “and from the outside - I was able to visit several of our horse show venues, where I could meet HITS exhibitors and see how our designs were implemented and responded to.”
She enjoys making cohesive designs for every level of the company and finds it particularly satisfying when small things – such as brochures and rack cards – are complimentary in design to their larger counterparts. This passion, which has driven her design strategies at HITS, inspired her to pursue Themed Entertainment Design at SCAD, where she will learn how to build complete experiences – from facilities and events, such as theme parks or broadway shows, to storefronts and exhibits.
Her designs have influenced HITS in ways that might surprise even frequent exhibitors. She has been responsible for pitching ideas for new jumps and designing the final product. She considers this her most rewarding pursuit at HITS and the tangible evidence of her design abilities is scattered throughout HITS courses nationwide.
In art, her philosophy is to create work that “communicates, educates, and inspires.” “I want to create with purpose,” she says. "I enjoy the creative challenge that the design process can present, but for me, the real reward comes when the design is implemented and the public can interact with and learn from it - and hopefully enjoy it too!”
“It’s great to see Elizabeth pursuing her education in graphic art,” says HITS CEO Tom Struzzieri. “She’s a wonderful employee who hopefully will be back someday.” In the meantime, the entire HITS team will miss its Assistant Art Director. We are proud of what she has accomplished here and excited to see how she applies the skills she perfected here in Saugerties after she finishes her MFA.