Lauren Williams

Brockport, New York

As a fine arts major, most of my classes are studios of about a dozen students. With that sort of closeness, you really get to know other students and their artistic practices and the professors who teach these classes.

Why did you choose Cornell and AAP?

I came to Cornell for many reasons, aside from its appealing art program. It is a close-knit school with incredible facilities and opportunities that I have been fortunate enough to be able to utilize in my time here. The faculty has a great presence in the art world and have proven to be amazing resources. AAP also has high diversity within its programs and as a person of color seeing that representation was very exciting for me and something I wanted to be a part of. The beautiful scenery was just an extra benefit to my education, and the diversity and high quality in the programs in other colleges within the university — as opposed to attending just an art school— brought me here.

What inspired you to become an artist?

Since I was young I've been drawing and creating. I was curious and imaginative as a little one and tended to bring that to paper. As I got older it became something that was so fulfilling to me, and I began to see how fulfilling my work could be to other people and how my artwork could inspire others and create happiness. Seeing how something that I love so much can make others think and feel so much is really what has brought me to becoming the artist that I am today.

What experiences have contributed to your sense of belonging at AAP?

AAP has created a huge sense of belonging from the small size of the college. As a fine arts major, most of my classes are studios of about a dozen students. With that sort of closeness, you really get to know other students and their artistic practices and the professors who teach these classes. With such small numbers, it's easier to get specific attention towards your work and better communication within the class as a whole creating a better bond between everyone — this then creates a better sense of belonging for yourself.

What are your extracurricular interests and how have you incorporated them into your college life?

My extracurricular interests are a weird combination of things that end up relating to my artistic practice and sometimes things that just bring me joy. I love to cook and bake and believe that the best way to the heart is through the stomach. I am a big fan of horticulture and I take care of about 10 plants in my room and go on a lot of nature walks throughout Ithaca. I usually gather flowers and leaves to press and put into book covers. I love to make books for fun and letterpress them myself with the letterpress shop we have in my dorm. I am very involved in my dorm as it is a performing and creative arts dorm. We have amazing programs and activities here and great resources, from our black box theater to our art shops to our dance studio and so on.

What do you hope to accomplish during your time at AAP and after graduation?

I really hope to of course learn more and more and be able to connect with the people in AAP. I also want to graduate with a B.F.A., but also with a minor in horticulture with a focus in botanical art. I hope to put on a show or two in the Tjaden galleries and become a master of all of the printing practices that we have in the print studios. After graduation, I hope to maintain a good relationship with Cornell and AAP and work in a career where I can practice my two loves — horticulture and art.