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An Artist's Lens

Looking at the world through an artist's lens has provided some expansive opportunities for Madden Sterrett.

From as early as sixth grade, Madden has found an affinity with art. As she found success, her interest increased until she began to see it as a defining part of her, and something that might open doors for her future education. “I saw my friends around me getting recruited to high schools for sports and academics, and I realized that art was my way into the ‘real world’.“ By eighth grade, she was creating a portfolio and applying to high schools with strength in the arts.

She was attracted to Tabor due to the diversity of our art curriculum and saw the opportunity to contribute to the art community here, maybe by raising the awareness of art students on campus. “I quickly realized that the community that the art facilities create at Tabor was strong among the students who participated in them, and I immediately wanted to be included.” Her first foray into studio art was with Ms. Smith’s Painting and Visual Story-telling class. Using literature, poetry or another art form such as music or media that conveys a storyline, the assignment was to create a painting that expressed the story. She expanded on the idea and her interest in body image in the Mixed Media class the next trimester. A musician as well, she complimented her experience with Applied Music in the third trimester.

As summer approached, the prospect of further exploring art at the University of Hartford was enticing. Apparently, as her parents looked for some enriching activity close to home, they learned that a student had left the program at the last minute leaving an open place. Madden immediately applied. “I was so excited to be admitted and have the chance to work among such talented student artists.” Madden had the opportunity to focus on her drawing skills through the course, called Portfolio and Nude Figure Drawing. The teachers shared with her some tried and true methods to strengthen her drawing and she quickly saw marked improvement in her work. It didn’t hurt to have so much talent around to motivate her and spark ideas and conversation.

The program also offered the chance to regularly visit the acclaimed Wadsworth Museum. The students toured the museum on different occasions with the curators of modern and classical art, taking time to draw existing works, as well as to learn about other jobs within the art world, such as restoration work. The chance to focus on her art for one month was a dream come true. ”It was the most rigorous program I had ever been a part of, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the intensity of it.”  

At the end of the program, Madden was awarded a merit scholarship of $60,000 should she decide to apply to the University of Hartford next year. The pot sweetens if she returns to the camp next summer as a rising senior, and further if she applies and her work shows continued improvement. Indeed, a full scholarship is not out of the question. While Madden may prefer a school that is further from home, the program has offered her strong motivation to continue to challenge herself through the arts. She will find good support for just that here at Tabor!

All in all, Madden was certainly correct that art opens opportunities, not just in seeing the world with new eyes, but also by opening doors to further education, just as she suspected.

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