Out of the Comfort Zone
Wharton County Junior College student Josiah Ortiz of Deer Park carefully cuts a paper shape that is part of an ongoing art project. WCJC's Student Art Show will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in the hallway of the Duson-Hansen Fine Arts Building on the Wharton campus.

Out of the Comfort Zone

Student Art Show reveals newly discovered talents of WCJC students


WHARTON, TEXAS – It comes as no surprise that Wharton County Junior College Pioneers baseball player Josiah Ortiz is right at home with a bat or glove in his hands. But what may be a little less expected is that the Deer Park native is also quite proficient at the proper utilization of a paintbrush and pencil.

Through his Foundation of Art class at WCJC, Ortiz has recently discovered that his talents and gifts are not exclusive to the baseball diamond.

“I like this class because it gets me out of my comfort zone,” the sophomore student said. “Being an athlete, it’s exciting to see that I can also achieve things in areas where I didn’t think I had any talent.”

WCJC Instructor of Art Dianne Curtis is pleased to hear such testimonials. Her introductory classes are designed to help students identify an interest in art and build upon flourishing skills. 

“Many of these students really didn’t know if they had potential until they took this class,” she said. “This class is the best one for finding potential talents in our students because we go through every one of the art disciplines.”

To further encourage her students, Curtis hosts a Student Art Show twice each year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The event provides students with an outlet for their work as well as the possibility of earning a scholarship. WCJC faculty and staff volunteers judge the entries and the top winners are offered scholarships.

The Fall 2018 show is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in the hallway of the Duson-Hansen Fine Arts Building on the Wharton campus, with 27 entries representing everything from digital art to watercolor painting.

Art student Maria Esquivel of Sheridan said the preparation for the show spawned a surprising new interest.

“I’ve always been creative but taking this class has brought out something in me,” she said. “I fell in love with art.”

El Campo student Kierana Manis was no stranger to art, taking it in high school, but she said the WCJC class has been invaluable all the same.

“Everything is mostly a review for me but on a whole new level,” she said. “It’s been very beneficial.”

Nicholas Gallegos, also from El Campo, was surprised to discover his more artistic side. Although his future plans are focused on a physical therapist career, he knows that art will always remain a part of whatever path he chooses to pursue.

“I enjoy it so much,” he said. 

The WCJC Student Art Show is scheduled for 6 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, in the hallway of the Duson-Hansen Fine Arts Building on the Wharton campus. The show is open to the public and admission is free. The art will remain up through next spring. 

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