Illustration Major Finds Success Through Entrepreneurship

Published: April 17, 2023 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 4 minutes

Baylee Wiener headshot.Baylee Wiener, a Studio Arts major with an emphasis in Illustration, will graduate this spring with a wealth of experience under her belt and a hunger to subvert the “starving artist” trope. In February, she placed second in the Opportunity Quest competition for her business Murals by Baylee and has since been invited to compete in another entrepreneurship competition for winnings up to $10,000.

Ever since she was a child, Baylee knew she wanted to pursue art as a career, but it never seemed like a real possibility for her until recently. “Soon after I married my husband, I came to the realization that I would be the sole breadwinner while he was in graduate school,” says Baylee. “Around the same time, I painted a mural for my sister’s first nursery, and I realized that because there aren’t many local muralists, this could be an excellent business opportunity.”

Since her first commission, Murals by Baylee has taken off, so much so that she has had to create a waitlist in order to run her business while still having time to finish her schooling. Baylee’s work can be found both in private homes and businesses, as well as a mural that she is completing alongside two other Illustration students in SUU’s own Gerald R. Sherratt Library. “I have early memories of getting in trouble for drawing on walls or having too much fun painting shapes and designs with rollers while repainting bedrooms,” Baylee says, “It is crazy how far I’ve come with the passion that I have for art.”

“I am grateful for the faculty at SUU for pushing me to be my best and encouraging me to follow this passion for painting murals professionally,” Baylee continues. “I have learned from the many, many critiques I’ve had, and I especially thank Hala Swearingen for her continual support of my interests in murals and surface design. Additionally, Landon Smith and the Entrepreneurship Program have taught me so many ways to improve and expand my business.”Baylee Wiener mural of mountains for Chari Hensler Memorial Mural.

“Baylee is really trailblazing for the Illustration area at SUU and the Entrepreneurship Program,” comments SUU Illustration professor, Hala Swearingen. “She is accomplishing so much, and I hope more students can follow in her footsteps.”

When asked about advice she has for current and future SUU Art & Design students, Baylee says, “Our professors are amazing and have your best interest at heart. They will give you critiques that can sometimes be rough and wound your pride, however, critiques will nearly always lead to improvement and greater understanding of good art principles and techniques.” In addition to these insights, Baylee suggests that students take electives outside of the College of Performing & Visual Arts. “I wish I had involved myself with the Entrepreneurship Program earlier. While I learned a wide variety of things in my art classes, it was in my electives that I learned the marketing and business skills that have been pivotal to my success.”

Baylee’s senior capstone is currently on display in the 2023 BFA Senior Exhibition at the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), and will be accessible until the exhibition’s close on April 28, 2023. To learn more about Art & Design at Southern Utah University, please visit


About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM). More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit

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