Art Scholarship Fuels Creativity

Graphic design major Kari Watson ’14 seizes every creative opportunity—in and out of the classroom. With a passion for the outdoors, Watson often finds artistic inspiration in nature and spends free time expressing herself through drawing, painting, and photography. That passion to create earned her the Patricia Hines Phoenix Art Scholarship, awarded to an exceptional graphic design student.

Professor of Art Paul Ryan shared the good news with Watson. “I was very honored and proud. I really appreciate the scholarship, not only for the money, but also for the attention it places on the arts,” said Watson. “Graphic design is a popular and growing field, and it’s nice for the program at Mary Baldwin College to receive recognition.”

To complement her studies in graphic design, Watson is minoring in marketing, giving her more comprehensive preparation for entering the work force. “Creativity is important to me, and my dream is to establish a career doing something I enjoy,” she said. Graphic design is interesting and challenging because it allows her to combine multiple mediums to produce unique works of art, she explained.

In fall 2012, Watson completed a marketing project requiring her to choose a topic for which to design a logo and brand package. She chose to promote awareness of the energy crisis. The semester-long project demanded a lot of time, giving Watson an eye-opening view of the potential demands of the profession. “I was happy with how it turned out and felt a sense of accomplishment for seeing through a project of that magnitude,” she said.

Watson is looking forward to a summer internship during which she will work with graphic designers in the Mary Baldwin College Office of Communication, Marketing, and Public Affairs.

MBC studio art alumna Patricia Hines Phoenix ’77 and her husband, Stuart, established the endowed scholarship in 2002. After earning her BA, Phoenix studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York as well as the Institut d’Études Européennes in Paris. She has worked in the publishing and advertising industries.

“I wanted to establish the scholarship because, when I was a student, there were no classes offered in graphic design. After graduation, I moved to New York City and had to take more courses to put together a portfolio to get into the advertising industry as an assistant art director,” said Phoenix. A true mentor, Phoenix strives to perpetuate the self-assurance she gained at MBC. “You can really grow at Mary Baldwin — [my education] gave me the confidence to think I could make it in NYC after graduating,” she said, “these students can be whatever they want to be.”