Nature Calls Morgan to Career in Art
Nature motivates Catherine “Anne” Morgan. It inspires her. It is the driving force behind her creativity.
It offered her several directions to go in college. Maybe biology. Maybe chemistry. She wanted to learn more.
Then she took a ceramics class at St. Louis Community College-Meramec and her perspective and direction changed. Still enamored by nature, she chose to pursue an education in art. After graduating from STLCC in 2015, she matriculated to the University of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, from which she graduated in 2019.
She now has work displayed and available throughout the St. Louis area, including a recent showing at the St. Louis Artists' Guild.
“I’m a first-generation college student,” said Morgan, 28. “When I was growing up, I always heard STLCC was the first choice and that I was going to STLCC because we lived right down the road from Meramec.
“When I started taking ceramics there, it was like ‘Oh, my gosh.’ The facilities are great. The instructors are amazing. That’s where I started getting really interested in ceramics because I used to take drawing and painting. From then on, that’s taken a back seat.”
Morgan’s work is getting noticed from some of the highest levels. In June, she received a $2,600 grant from the Regional Arts Commission to help her purchase needed materials.
The grants competition included a package that took Morgan a month to put together. She had to write a budget narrative, desired goals and outcomes, provide quality photos of her work, and prove that she actively participated in the local art scene.
The pandemic halted what was an annual ceremony in which the RAC provided funds to groups and individual artist. On June 15, it announced more than $1.15 million in grant funding to local artists and arts programming across the region. Morgan joined 84 other individual artists to receive direct financial support along with 90 arts programs. The commission received hundreds of applications from around the area.
The grant is important for Morgan, who serves as the administrative assistant to Debra Harper-LeBlanc, Ph.D., academic dean of liberal arts at STLCC-Forest Park.
“The award that I got is going to help me get a wheel and other ceramic supplies so I can keep working on my art,” Morgan said.
Harper-LeBlanc has worked with Morgan since October and appreciates the creativity she brings to the position. There have been numerous times that Morgan’s artistic inclination has benefited the department.
“I am grateful to have someone like Ms. Morgan working for me,” Harper-LeBlanc said. “Her uplifting and creative spirit, along with her artistic mind, brings a lot of life to my office and the division. Not to mention that her artistic designs that were handmade put our office in second place for the 2021 Christmas door competition.
“I am happy that she is working for me, and I look forward to her utilizing her creativeness further in the office and the division.”
As much as Morgan appreciates what STLCC provides her – she was in a different department for about a year before she moved to Forest Park – she wants a career that centers on her ceramics and her love of nature.
“When I do 2D art, I feel like I’m very limited in my abilities, like there’s only so much I can express,” Morgan said. “When it came to ceramics, I thought ‘Wow! I can make something with three-dimensional detail.' That’s what first caught my attention with ceramics.
“The connection it (3D art) has with the environment. I’ve always been really interested in the environment, especially amphibians and frogs. And I started making more and more work with that subject. It just snowballed from there.”