While other students will be returning to Leesville this fall, Mary Song, a sophomore, will begin her journey at University of North Carolina’s School of the Arts (UNCSA). At UNCSA, Song will complete her high school education as well as participating in intensive art classes.
During her junior year, she will be attending three high school classes in addition to sculpture, design, and drawing.
Located in Winston-Salem, UNCSA offers high school, undergraduate, and graduate programs spanning various areas of art, including drama, film making, dance, music, and visual arts — Song’s focus and forte.
During the school year, Song will board on campus in a dorm housing structure similar to a college campus. While at Leesville, Song took many art classes to improve her visual art skills, making friends along the way.
“I look up to her so much; she inspires me everyday just as a person and an artist…She’s the kind of person that will always give you ideas and helpful feedback, whether with art or anything else and I think that’s amazing, so I look up to her not only in my art, but as a person,” said Cecelia Marks, a longtime friend of Song.
When speaking with Song, you can tell she is passionate about her work and is inspired to grow and mature while at UNCSA.
“Stuff that makes me happy could also make other people happy as well. My goal for my artwork is just to make one person a little bit happier,” said Song.
However, it isn’t always easy to be an artist — Song must find inspiration to keep moving forward and continuing to make art that makes people happy.
“I think the best feeling when you [create] art is finishing it and just taking a step back and seeing your finished product. And I think that’s the main thing that drives me forward; not only is it a fun [activity]…but you feel accomplished every time you finish a new piece,” said Song.
Family has also been a key element to Song’s success. In third grade, her sister started taking oil painting lessons and as she watched, Song discovered that she had a passion for art as well. Song also finds inspiration and motivation in her family, as her father is an important influence on her and the rest of her family.
“I do have one piece called ‘My Father’s Hands’ that I [created], and it was inspired by how hard my dad worked just to make a living for me and my family. My family in general, they all support me so much in my journey,” said Song.
As for her future, Song doesn’t have a clear idea yet. She is interested in many professions relating to art and hopes that her time at UNCSA will help her discover the path she wants to take.
Song ended the interview with a message to all artists:
“I think that artists should keep doing what they are doing because, without art, the world can’t be the beautiful, creative place it is. Artists are the center of society if you think about it. Not only fine arts but music, movies, and dance are all important, not only for entertainment, but for people to live an exciting life filled with innovation and imagination.”