Art students are often overlooked and get a bad reputation due to their career decisions. However, each one of them usually has a unique place in the world of art and society, bringing a new gift to the table along with a story that sets them apart from the others, just like Annalee Drain.

Drain is an art student currently enrolled at the university. Although art students tend to be the odd ones out in their families, her background contradicts the stereotype -- her entire family is full of artists ranging from musicians to theater performers, making them stand out from other families.

Coming from Nashville, Tenn., she has been around artists her entire life, especially with her father being a well-known country music artist. 

After Nashville, she moved to Russellville, about an hour-long drive from the university, where she has spent most of her life. 

“I always knew I wanted to study art,” she said, explaining how she chose her major due to her everlong passion for it. She then said she wanted to study graphic design but also had an interest in film. “UCA was the place that I went because both of my brothers studied film.” She said that UCA seems to be the “cool” place for film students to attend during their studies.

For Annalee, she doesn’t prefer one particular side of art over the rest. Instead, she appreciates the entire spectrum, wanting to dip a “spoon” into each portion of it all, she said. “What I want to do is be a creative director...because I really like fine art, I love graphic design and all of that kind of stuff, but I also really love performance art, film, theater, and all of that side of art.

“So when you’re an artistic director, you are the person that is at the head of the team, and so you’re getting to work with and figure out ways to collaborate with all the different aspects of art. So you’re not just working with designers; you’re working with videographers, photographers, actors. You’re the person who is kind of working with everyone, so you kind of get to be a jack of all trades...That’s why I’m getting two degrees rather than just having a minor in something.”

Moreover, she says she sees art as a medium for communication, giving a way to express the mind’s inner works rather than defaulting to verbal expression.

“The thing I love about art is that, while there is so much deeper meaning to it, it doesn’t always have to have deeper meaning to it, and it can just be for fun and be expressive...You get to create something out of nothing. You can take something that was a random idea in your brain and make it a physical, tangible thing that you can share with other people, and I think that that’s really cool because...I’m not that great with words or expressing myself verbally...and with art, I can get my point across visually.”

In terms of having a theme or meaning behind a work of art, Annalee sees the industry quite differently. Furthermore, she wants other art students to open their eyes to a new perspective and know something:

“For art students, I think it’s because of the stigma around art and how there always has to be some big deeper meaning behind everything that you do. I guess something I would say to art students is to find peace and be okay with the fact that there doesn’t always have to be some big meaning behind it.

“I think that with our projects in class, there are a lot of people who make pieces, and they do have this big, deep meaning behind it or have like this big, emotional tie to some memory in their past that they’re representing. And so when you’re not creating something that has that deeper level to it, it’s really easy to get wound up in the thought that your art is insignificant because it doesn’t have some tragic backstory like everyone else’s does, but your art can be beautiful even if it doesn’t have a deeper meaning.”

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