July 21, 2022
While it can be a daunting path, many students decide to follow their passion for art through one of AACC’s many creative programs. Their experiences give them the opportunity to gain confidence and learn the skills they will need to have a successful future.
Janelle Wyler, an architecture and interior design major with an interest in oil painting and drawing, decided to start a new career after staging her house to sell in 2021.
“I had an aha moment of, ‘I could even get paid to do this,’" she said. “I always loved art, but I never felt confident I could ever make a living off of that.”
Architecture and interior design proved to be the perfect fit for Wyler. Her projects left her energized rather than exhausted.
"At one point, I looked up, and it was after midnight … That's when I knew I was in the right field,” she said.
Art students not only get to learn marketable skills, but they find a community that supports their goals and expands their perspectives.
John Mykyta, an iconographer, veteran and soon-to-be retiree, said “I really enjoyed every single professor because I learned something from all of them.”
Not all the support came from faculty though. Peers and classmates also provided a lot of encouragement.
“I really just appreciated the diversity of the students,” Mykyta added. “You have different people in your class and they're all seeing the world through different lenses.”
Angel Casalda, a transfer studies student, found a role model in Marisa Evangelista, a fellow student who returned to AACC after attending MICA. "Seeing all the amazing stuff that she is doing right now, … that is really inspirational for me ... because I don't really hear all about a lot of female artists in my same position,” she said.
Casalda, Evangelista, Mykyta and Wyler were just a few of the students accepted into the 2022 Juried Student Art Exhibition. Eric Briscoe, coordinator of the visual arts program at Morgan State University, curated the show.
For some students, it was their first opportunity to display their work. The recognition not only gave them the chance to put their name out there, but it provided validation that they were on the right path.
“The fact that (my piece) made it in among everyone else's incredible work, I was like, ‘wow.’ I'm really proud of myself for that," Casalda said.
And this is just the beginning for artists like Casalda.
“I want to be able to speak to people through my art one day on a larger scale,” she said.