GWU Student Appreciates Opportunity to Refine Skills in Art

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Deborah Hamilton uses Artwork to Express her Faith  

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – A mother of four, Deborah Hamilton was 40 years old when she came to Gardner-Webb University to begin work on her bachelor of fine arts degree.

“This was a dream-come-true opportunity for me and I am so thankful,” she shared. “I am majoring in art because it is one of my great loves. It gives me pleasure to create, and it gives me even more pleasure to combine my love of art with my greatest love, Jesus Christ.”

Hamilton’s educational journey started when the textile mill, where she worked for many years, closed. She enrolled in a community college and earned two associate degrees, in cosmetology and graphic design. Following the advice of her graphic design instructor, she decided to pursue her bachelor of fine arts degree at Gardner-Webb. By working with her professors, she has refined her drawing and painting skills and developed an appreciation for ceramics.

“I have married the two mediums together, thanks to encouragement from Doug Knotts (professor of art and chair of the Department of Visual Arts),” Hamilton related. “My senior show will consist of ceramic platters I have painted on. I really owe Knotts a lot. He has allowed me to be myself, while at the same time encouraging and pushing me to try new things that can enhance the gifts I already possess.”

She’s also grateful to her other art professors for giving her the following insights. “I thank Susan Bell because after taking Christianity and Art class, I realized that my calling to create art is very much connected to my calling to preach,” Hamilton explained. “I thank Paula Spangler Casper for her artistic mind that is so beautifully open and interesting. I thank Dr. Nancy Bottoms because she awakened my love of art history and writing. I believe that the art faculty at GWU is beyond the best.”

Attending classes, serving at her church and taking care of her family is a balancing act, but she found a way with the support of her husband, Kevin. In the afternoons, she must leave campus in time to pick up her youngest from school. “So the majority of my school work, especially art, has to be done at home,” she offered. “I praise the Lord that he has helped me.”

As an ordained minister, Hamilton appreciates the University’s Christian community. “Gardner-Webb is a down-home, loving community with the finest ethical and educational standards,” she affirmed. “I was pleasantly surprised when in my first class the instructor paused to pray before beginning class. That was awesome!”