Yannie Alvarez: 'I think people should just try'

photo of student Yannie Alvarez

Some people like to read. Others are into movies. But for Yannie Alvarez, relaxing is all about creating art.

The Corvallis resident took a few art classes in high school and also dabbled on her own, drawing with phone apps and exploring painting with acrylics. The daughter of a Linn-Benton Community College graduate whose sister also attended LBCC, she also decided to enroll at the community college and to check out the art classes while she was there.

She wasn't sure what she'd find. 

"I've heard horror stories of teachers telling students that they're doing something wrong or that their drawing isn't good," she said. "I was met with a lot of supportive teachers and people who absolutely love art and didn't think there was a right or wrong way to do art, or make art." 

"Just having those teachers really pushed me toward wanting to pursue art as a career."

When she finishes at LBCC, Alvarez is planning to transfer to Western Oregon University to pursue a degree in fine arts. A fan of both Pixar movies and the bright colors and clean lines of pop art, she'd love to be a professional artist or possibly explore animation as a career.

Pursuing higher education was always the plan, and Alvarez was eligible for financial aid, so she was relatively certain she'd be able to go to college. What really helped, however, was an additional scholarship - especially after she lost one of her jobs to pandemic layoffs.

"I was applying for scholarships and thankfully I got one," she said. "My mom, when she went to college, she relied heavily on scholarships."

Alvarez said she highly recommends trying for any aid that might be available. The forms at LBCC were easy to fill out, she said, and apply to a wider population than an applicant might think. "I think people should just try," she said. "Apply to as many as you can, even if you think you don't qualify."

Besides career support, Alvarez was especially pleased to find that the art teachers at LBCC were happy to share tips, techniques and recommendations for equipment. She particularly praised instructor Anne Magratten's efforts to create a welcoming environment where students can learn about various opportunities.

"All the teachers I've had are all artists themselves, which is super helpful because in the art community it's kind of hard to really know different opportunities," she said. "Online, there's a lot of gatekeeping. It's really inspiring to see teachers say, oh, this is the brand I use, these are the brushes that work for me, they're really expensive but they'll last 10 years."

It also creates a collaborative atmosphere, she added, which helps everyone with critiquing. "Seeing that they're sharing their processes kind of inspires us to do the same."

If you're interested in pursuing a future in the arts like Yannie, check out our full list of arts & humanities programs.