Studio Art major Leah Seaman ’21 has found success with a variety of art mediums — from winning the Proof of Concept round of the PioBiz Competition for her customized, painted apparel business to selling her commissioned paintings, winning the third round of PioBiz for her artistic business, ArtaBella, and, most recently, her pen drawings being chosen for exhibit in The Culture Center in her home state of West Virginia.
Seaman’s pen drawings are on display in the Commissioner’s Gallery of The Culture Center in Charleston, West Virginia.
The two pieces are from a four-piece series of pen drawings she created last year entitled The New Renaissance.
“I received the second-place award for my piece The New Renaissance (3), which was the drawing with multiple people in it — my parody of the statue known as the Rape of the Sabine Women,” she says.
Another work from that series was featured in The Culture Center, which is part of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, last year during a different Juried Art Exhibition. She was initially encouraged by her father to enter the first juried exhibit, and received similar encouragement from Professor Jolene Powell to submit work for the 2020 Emerging Artists Exhibition.
“Being accepted into the 2020 Emerging Artists Exhibition is such a wonderful affirmation and humbling honor for my journey as an artist,” Seaman says. “I take it as an indicator that I am most likely on the right track and that my work is having the impact that I’d hoped it would have on other people.”
In addition to being a Studio Art major, Seaman is also majoring in Communication as well as working with the Entrepreneurship Program to create a business plan for ArtaBella, an art company that will allow her to sell commissioned artwork in a variety of mediums and to pursue personal work that can be exhibited. Recently, she learned she will receive $7,000 in financial support by winning the third round of PioBiz, which was originally supposed to take place during the Spring 2020 semester.
“Growing up in an entrepreneurship-focused household, I was always encouraged to follow my passions, to be my own boss, and to work hard at the gifts given to me. I was always told that hard work would bear beautiful fruit. These past few years, as my work has started to pick up momentum and attention, I have started to understand just how vitally important that message can be for other young people to hear.”
Over the summer, Seaman maintained a steady stream of commissioned work and also began mentoring a group of young women, specifically artists, in her hometown of Philippi, West Virginia.
“Being able to use my life experiences as an example of what can happen if you take that first step has been a powerful reinforcement for them that it truly is possible to follow passion instead of society’s definition of practicality.”
This article was edited slightly from its original publishing