Ailyn Pitt '22 BFA Studio Arts

Ailyn Pitt believes in the healing power of art both through creating it and by experiencing it.

Pitt is the mastermind behind “Art’s Way Out,” a YouTube channel that provides a space for artists to talk about their purpose and their motivation behind the art form they are representing:

“When you look at a painting or sculpture or listen to music or see a play, we see the work but we don’t always know the artists’ motivations. There’s a whole person with feelings behind the work. I wanted to get to know the people.”

From early on, Pitt loved to draw, and during high school, she discovered an interest in psychology. She had been accepted into several universities, but finances were a real issue. UNCG offered her a Guarantee Scholarship, a selective scholarship for high-achieving, low-income students:

“I really wanted to come to UNCG, but I knew that for my parents, for my family, I really needed to go where I was offered the most scholarship support. I was excited and honored when the UNCG Guarantee came through. And, it wasn’t just financial aid—the Guarantee doesn’t just give you the funding and walk away. There’s a whole support system with retreats, workshops, and job opportunities.”

Pitt entered UNCG as a psychology major but in her sophomore year, she knew she needed to listen to her heart: 

“I love psychology. I have so much respect for the field, but it’s just not what I’m most passionate about. What I love most is drawing. It’s art. I’ve been drawing since I was a child, and I started selling my art when I was in high school. I decided I wanted to develop my art with real training, so I switched my major and started in the School of Art.”

Pitt had already done a lot of drawing and painting—especially watercolor—but in her classes, she was able to explore different media:

Flamingo- Magazine paper
Flamingo- Magazine paper

“My favorite might be the magazine project. That’s where you create collages with torn up pages from magazines that you apply to the canvas. I love making masks, too. I learned so much in my 3D Design class with Professor Pat Wasserboehr. It was the most out of my comfort zone I’ve ever been, but that class helped me with everything—sculpture, painting, and still-life drawing. Art Education Professor Sunny Spillane has also been a great influence on my development here. ”

For Pitt, the the most difficult challenge about art classes was probably the thing she needed most:

“I’d never undergone the critiquing process. I remember the first self-portrait I presented in class. I thought it was so terrible that I started tearing it up in class. It was a real growing experience because it taught me how to get out of my own head and put my ego aside. Getting to see other people’s work is exciting. It made me nervous, but it’s so great for artist development, and everyone here is so supportive.”

Pitt says it’s that support that makes the School or Art and the College of Visual and Performing Arts so special:

“There’s such a family atmosphere. The professors really want you to succeed, and they are accessible. My advice to future Spartans is to be sure and take advantage of office hours. Connect with your professors. So many of them are doing research or they are working artists. There’s so much to learn from them outside the classroom.”

While getting her BFA in Art, Pitt never really walked away from her original major of psychology:

“My senior project explored the integration of art and well-being, specifically mental health. Making art and enjoying a creative process is a form of therapy. Self-expression is important. Enjoying other people’s art is also beneficial to well-being.”

Pitt plans to pursue a master’s degree in counseling, then obtain a license to become an art therapist, perhaps working with children:

“One of my jobs while going to UNCG was teaching art to kindergarten-through-second grade students at a private school called Hope Academy. It is so powerful to work with young artists and watch them learn and grow. Working at this school and my time at the School of Art taught me to cherish every moment and to relax a little and enjoy this time. If you don’t do that, you’re just creating stress, and stress doesn’t make anything better.”

Listen to the podcast “Art’s Way Out”

View more of Ailyn Pitt’s work

Watercolor piece based on the woman in Proverbs
Three Grounds Flamin Flamingo- Watercolor, 9x12in
Three Grounds Flamin Flamingo- Watercolor, 9x12in
Flower Dreams- Colored Pencil
Flower Dreams- Colored Pencil

Story by Terri W. Relos

Photo provided by Ailynn Pitt