Students turn to social media to showcase their artwork

Students turn to social media to showcase their artwork

Kailyn Burch hangs her artwork at The Mill Coffee. Photo by Sydney Pressley.

With the rise of social media, sharing art has never been easier. Some Lee students are using this to their advantage, showcasing everything from handmade jewelry to commissioned art pieces.

Kailyn Burch, a sophomore studio art major, primarily works with oil paint and charcoal but has always loved painting and drawing with different media. Burch has been drawing since she was 12, but did not officially begin studying art until she came to Lee. 

“I’ve always drawn, always loved painting… I always knew I wanted to do art as a major and a career,” Burch said. 

Although art is usually seen as a way to express oneself in many different ways, it does not come without challenges. Burch said that although art is her passion, it is sometimes hard to stay focused on what is important. 

“Everybody says, ‘You’re an art major, how are you going to make money?’ I’m not just doing this for money, this is my passion,” Burch said. “It gets discouraging sometimes …I feel like we have all been given certain talents and passions for a reason.”

While sharing one’s art can give confidence to the artist in their talents, there is also a vulnerability in sharing the art a person creates. Mannah Liu, a Lee alumna, shares how she gathered the courage to begin an Etsy shop to promote her handmade products, which include earrings and woven pieces from a loom. 

Photo courtesy of Mannah Liu.

“I was going to be making things anyway,” Liu said. “It was actually, largely my husband that inspired me to take the leap of faith and just start… I guess I was finally like, ‘You know? What’s the worst that could happen?’” Liu said.

Because there are so many platforms available for aspiring artists, it can be hard for people to think his or her art is worth anything. Liu encourages other artists to be confident in taking the initial step and never stop creating. 

“Make whatever you want to make,” Liu said. “Don’t worry too much if people are doing the same thing, or if people are doing it better, because you’re going to get better. Make things because you like it… treat it like you’re living out your passion.” 

As Lee’s art program continues to gain interest, John Simmons, senior adjunct professor of art, explained how much has changed since the art department began.

“The visual art on the Lee campus continue[s] to grow in interest and majors… We currently have 85 students majoring in art,” Simmons said.

As the art department at Lee continues to grow, these students take part in an evolving idea within the realm of social media.

“We hope to involve as many students [that] are interested in art at some level, even if they are not majors, through participation in the Art Club or taking an art class as an elective,” Simmons said.

Kailyn Burch’s art is currently featured at The Mill Coffee until October 16 for an art gallery, and Mannah Liu sells her handmade work on Etsy.

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