Although it was only several weeks ago that Genesee Community College received approval for its new Fine Arts degree program, the program already has its first student: Stephanie McFarland of Kendall.
Ms. McFarland, a Kendall High School graduate, was already enrolled in the College's General Studies program and is a practicing artist. Although she has created hundreds of works, she hopes the new program will give her the opportunity to perfect her skills. Ms. McFarland works in virtually any media - colored pencil, dry pastels, oils, watercolor, ceramics, and photography - and she said that she has been creating works of art "ever since I could pick up a pencil." She has no favorite medium; what she uses at any given time depends on her current interests and mood.
She has exhibited her work at Nazareth College, scholastic art shows, and at gatherings of family and friends. Although she does not actively sell her work, she recently sold a painting for $400.
The Fine Arts program at Genesee, she says, will give her the opportunity to learn and practice her artistic skills in a structured setting and work with faculty members who are practicing artists. "When I go into an art class, I try to get on a level with the instructor," Ms. McFarland said. "I try to learn exactly how the instructors practice their art, and get them to show me what they do." Last year, she participated in a Drawing course taught by Genesee instructor Denniston K. Wood. "It was a drawing course, but I knew that Mr. Wood was really good with watercolors, so I asked him a lot of questions about this, and he helped me understand how he used this medium."
Ms. McFarland has received a Special Talent Award Program (STAP) scholarship, funded by the Genesee Community College Foundation, for her talent and potential in the arts.
Once she receives her degree from Genesee, she expects to pursue a bachelor's degree in fine arts and hopes to eventually earn a master of fine arts degree. Ms. McFarland's long-term goal is to open her own studio and build her own artistic reputation.
The new Fine Arts Program prepares students for an Associate in Science (A.S.) degree. Students will participate in courses in design, painting, craft fundamentals, photography, and museum practice. They will also be able to choose from a wide variety of arts-related electives, including drawing, painting, computer graphics, computer art, stagecraft, theatrical design, scene design, and other special arts-related courses. The program also includes a wide variety of liberal arts courses that enable students to easily transfer to other State University of New York colleges and most private colleges as well. As part of the new Fine Arts program, each student will have the opportunity to develop a personal arts portfolio.
Marcia K. Morrison, Director of Fine and Performing Arts, noted that numerous career opportunities are open to people with a fine arts background. "More career opportunities are opening up all the time," she said. "People with fine arts backgrounds become art therapists, exhibit designers, layout artists, retail store art directors, book and periodical illustrators, and they can go into literally dozens and dozens of additional careers."
Some graduates of the program will go into teaching on the elementary and secondary school level, Ms. Morrison said. "We expect a large increase in demand for art teachers in schools over the next five to ten years," she said. "This is the perfect program for students with an interest in the arts and in education."
The new program will enable students to easily transfer to a variety of other State University of New York and private colleges offering baccalaureate programs in the arts.
"Stephanie is a very talented woman, and I am delighted to welcome her into this new program," said Marcia K. Morrison, Director of Fine and Performing Arts. "I believe that she is going to continue to develop her art, and in the years ahead become a very accomplished artist with her own reputation and her own following."
Individuals wishing to learn more about the Fine Arts program may call Genesee's Admissions Office at 345-6800 or the Fine and Performing Arts Office at 343-0055, extension 6438.