When freshman Kara Mounsey was in middle school, she won her first set of acrylic paints in her summer library’s reading program.

“I had never painted before winning, but thought I’d go ahead and give it a shot,” she said.

After that, she was sent down the slippery sloop of falling in love with art. Now, she aspires to become a high school art teacher and is studying art education. She has chosen this career path because she said art education can open doors for students to find careers in areas that they love, along with “allowing them to express themselves through the positive means of art.”

The best piece of career advice Mounsey has ever received was to pursue what you love.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in trying to please the people around you by going into the career they have picked out for you,” she said, “or even trying to get a job that makes a lot of money.”

She argues it’s better to find a job that you love and will enjoy doing, rather than focusing on how much you make.

“This advice helped me to focus on finding a job doing something I really love doing,” she said.

Mounsey identifies with art that has loose brushstrokes and emotive expression. She is most drawn to expressionism or fauvism. Her favor for these styles can be seen in her free line-work and her attention to detail in the human figure. She enjoys brushstrokes that feel like they have emotion and can provoke an emotional response from the viewer.

While Mounsey is passionate about painting, she has also recently taken a liking to ceramic work under the study of professor Rebecca Coffman. Mounsey said there is “something very satisfying about feeling the clay in your hands and standing back and being able to see that you created something with your hands.”

Her reasoning behind why the arts are significant? Art is all around us.

“Art is in the clothes we wear, the movies we watch, the ads we see and even in the food we eat!” she said.

She said she also believes that artwork is a way of communicating and sharing a story with others.

“The community should care about art because it is the foundation of cultures and how we can connect and explain who we are.”