I emailed the director of a graduate program I'm planning on applying to, and while the program isn't accepting a new cohort of students until next year, they suggested that I reach out to other faculty members with whom I'd be interested in working with. On the one hand, I wasn't sure if that meant the professor I had initially contacted wasn't interested (No, I didn't write to the dept. chair :P), or if one's supposed to contact multiple professors, but I wanted to ask how best to proceed.
Would it be acceptable to present project ideas that I want to work on and ask them for support, explaining that I plan on applying to the program? If not, what should I say? Also, would it be awkward to reach out to others when there's a specific advisor that I hope to work with. (If they don't want to work with me, I don't want to close myself off to others. But I don't want them to think that I changed my mind about working with them.)
How can one build connections in a potential department?