“Painting allowed me to make sense of senseless actions in the only genuine way I could find. It taught me to be intuitive and comfortable with my emotions. I can’t imagine growing up without art in my life [because] my work has become so much a part of they way I interact with the world. Art school was a risk, but certainly one worth taking.”
Marc Levy Memorial Scholarship winner Amelia Hutchison '15 moves about these days like a woman on a mission. She is heavily involved in MICA’s community arts program and is determined to make Baltimore a better place through her work. Though the Canada native didn’t know much about Baltimore besides what she saw on the HBO drama The Wire before coming to MICA, she now says she couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
Hutchinson, who also was awarded a Baltimore Collegetown LeaderShape Scholarship and is a C.V. Starr Foundation Scholar in recognition of her outstanding artistic achievement as an international student, understands the power of artmaking. Art classes helped her cope with tragedy when she was a small child, and provided her with an outlet to make sense out of tough situations. Today, she has come full circle.
Hutchinson, a Dean's List student, took an internship at the Baltimore City Detention Center, teaching art to male inmates. That experience led her to want to expand her unique ability to use art to uplift people who may be losing hope, and to develop plans to establish an arts program in the detention center's women's facility, and a youth program in East Baltimore.
Hutchison also started a blog related to her work in the detention center, showing the world how the arts can help people cope with feeling trapped. Likewise, one of her activities with the inmates was to ask them to put together poetry that expressed their hopes and fears. Their writing, she said, helped her reaffirm her “faith in art, compassion, and the resilience of the human spirit.”
Struck by how something as simple as knowing the time is a luxury for those who are incarcerated, Hutchison was frustrated that she could not do more, though she could see the enthusiasm her students had for the class she taught. That frustration may be mitigated, however, by the prospect of knowing that she has a lifetime ahead of her to make an impact using art to inspire people and communities. The self-described “activist for social justice” plans to pursue a master’s degree in community arts and become a teacher or art therapist.