Through the ages, artists have drawn, painted, and chiseled their way into history books. Their work has, in turn, inspired and educated new generations of creators.
As art techniques have continually been developed and refined, many artists look to higher education to help expand their knowledge of art and further develop their skills. This is demonstrated each year as a growing number of students enter PCC’s Visual Arts program.
Whether studying Graphic Design or Studio Art, students have the opportunity to refine their abilities and prepare for a variety of creative fields. Classes such as History of Art develop a foundational and important appreciation for art’s cultural value, while hands-on classes such as Principles of Drawing and Digital Graphics help students become proficient in necessary skills. Additionally, electives and upper-level courses allow students to pursue their interests and produce advanced work.
“We’re in the top three art schools and departments in the United States with some of these national awards that are recognized in art magazines,” said Brian Jekel, artist in residence and Visual Arts faculty. “The Lord brings us students who thrive and have gotten not only local and regional awards, but national awards.”
David O’Hara (’08), who graduated with a double major in Studio Art and Graphic Design, went on to receive several American Advertising Awards including 2 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze awards. More rewarding than these achievements is the work he does every day as the Senior Product Design Lead at Axon Enterprise, Inc. “Our company’s mission is two-part: to protect life and to protect truth,” David said. “For me, waking up each day and being a part of this mission is hugely rewarding.”
After a vibrant career path designing for both local design agencies and tech giants like Microsoft, David’s path has led him to Axon, a leading producer of equipment such as Tasers, body cameras, and in-car systems used by police agencies.
“The education I received while at PCC helped prepare me with foundational principles of design. This empowered me to build upon and ultimately make a complete career change into an area of design that didn’t even exist at the time of my education,” he said.
Alumni of the Visual Arts program have found careers building their own full-service design agencies, freelancing for corporations in tech hotspots, or expanding the reach of ministries like Sight and Sound Theaters and the Creation Museum.
Emily Kurek (’17) is putting her graphic design and advertising skills to good use at Edelman, the world’s largest public relations firm, while spouses Adam and Andrea Clague (’06, M.F.A. ’09) are garnering attention in the studio art field, winning awards such as Best of Show in Legacy Gallery’s Fine Art Competition (Andrea) and an Award of Excellence in the Oil Painters of America Salon Show (Adam).
Alumni who are pursuing further education are also finding ways to use their God-given abilities. Natti Guest (Grad., TX) began pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Studio Art after college. Since then, she has had the opportunity to help design PCC’s Summit yearbook, work for Abeka Publishing, and minister abroad by illustrating Christian school curriculum in Brazil.
In Brazil, I digitally illustrated pictures for the curriculum using Photoshop to paint the pictures they needed,” Natti said. “I loved the opportunity to use art to serve Christ, share the gospel, and impact others. It is my desire to use art for missions and the ministry, so serving in Brazil was very fulfilling.
Aside from teaching the techniques of art, PCC’s Visual Arts program teaches students to use their talents to glorify God.
“What we teach is that our Creator God designed the world using what I call ‘Classical Ideals,’ from which we can discover the elements and principles of art,” said Joe Digangi, Visual Arts faculty. “He masterfully created the world, and we should strive for that same mastery in our own creations. PCC has a biblical perspective that God has given each of us a special measure of talent and ability. Those, in turn, should be used to honor and glorify Him, to draw people and attention to Him instead of to ourselves.”
Whether alumni pursue a job in a church, large agency, self-owned business, or a completely new developing field, they know what it means to use their art to serve.