A young artist’s journey

From sketching in the corner to her first art show

Tiffany and Ari
L to R: St. Nicks Alliance’s Arts Education Coordinator Tiffany Lin and Ari Farina, after-school art teacher at MS 577, share a special bond forged in creativity.

“I was always the person with the sketchbook in the corner,” Ariadne Farina said, describing her middle-schooler self. “My family always said, ‘Do it if you love it.’ And this is where I am now.”

On Jan. 14, the Every Thing Goes Book Cafe in Staten Island hosted Farina’s first art show opening. There she was surrounded by family, friends, and the general public as they admired her imaginative acrylic and watercolor paintings. She said it felt unreal.

“I felt like the star,” Farina said, laughing. “I’m used to just drawing something and showing my mom and sister … it was weird to see it up there [in the gallery].”

Tiffany Lin, arts education coordinator with St. Nicks Alliance Youth and Education, spotted Farina’s talent early on when Farina started working as a group leader for St. Nicks Alliance after-school at MS 577 in 2014. Lin supplied Farina with project ideas and materials aiming to cultivate creative potential. Then when an art teacher position at the school opened up last year Lin and program manager Ivelise Arroyo encouraged Farina to apply. Since then, Farina has taught art classes every school day, creating her own lesson plans and helping students grow creatively. St. Nicks Alliance offers digital media, performing arts and visual arts education at all after-school locations.

“Right when she walks into her classroom and sees her students, her face lights up.”

I feel like I’ve definitely grown as a person since I got [to MS 577],” Farina said, adding that her students have grown as well: “My sixth graders are now eighth graders … I can see their art styles have changed. I got to see [how their work has developed].”

Ariadne Farina
Farina is drawn to mythological creatures. This cyclops is done with acrylics and each hair is detailed with fine ink.

Lin says Farina’s passion for her students is evident. “Right when she walks into her classroom and sees her students, her face lights up,” Lin said. “She’s one of the most compassionate people I know.”

Farina graduated from Laguardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and has some college. Her next steps are pursuing a college degree in fine arts and arts education to further her experience and continue fulfilling her childhood dream of being an art teacher. She also plans to do another art show soon.

Author: Joanna Rutter

Communications Associate at St. Nicks Alliance

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