Deptford Twp. – Estelle Ha (Jihyung) and Ariel Adels’ paintings are a few of the art pieces selected for display in
the Continuing Education Center during Rowan College at Gloucester County’s (RCGC) Young Artist Exhibit this semester. Ha, a South Korean native, and Adels, a homeschooled high school student, discovered a common bond while taking
Dr. Ross Beitzel’s Painting 101 class.
Now the two young artists are providing viewers with a glimpse of their promising talent while pursuing their dreams.
While many students might find earning a college degree challenging, Ha finds time to not only hit the books but also to concentrate on understanding a culture foreign to that of her own. Art, a universal language, captured her heart in 10th grade when studying at Dong-a University in her home country of South Korea where she explored crafts, painting and digital arts. Ceramics, her first choice, later gave way to painting.
Ha’s college career at RCGC began with the Continuing Education Center’s English as a Second Language program (ESL) when her family relocated to the United States from South Korea in 2013.
“Not speaking English fluently made the transition to life in the United States difficult, but the faculty and staff of the Continuing Education department served as my encouragement and support helping me to push through the language barrier,” said Ha. “The staff also assisted me in taking advantage of opportunities to further my education at RCGC once I had successfully completed the ESL program.”
After earning her associate degree in digital arts from RCGC Ha plans to transfer to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, New York to follow her dream of becoming an illustrator for New York authors.
Currently enrolled in RCGC’s High School Options Program (HSOP), Adels attends college courses earning credits toward her associate degree in graphic design. Adels, who is homeschooled, has not received any formal art education.
“I have been drawing from the time I could hold a pencil,” acknowledged Adels. “Getting to know Estelle as an artist has really challenged me because I find there is so much I can learn from her. She is a very gifted artist.”
At the age of 17, Adels already has plans in motion to take the art world by storm. Her artwork has been displayed in two exhibits, one of which is The Philadelphia Art Museum’s 2015 exhibit “Express Yourself” where her piece titled “Words Hurt” was one of the 50 selected entries.
“Finding sponsors to support your projects is paramount to sharing your art with the world,” said Adels. “The more exposure your artwork receives, the better your chances are for sponsors to see your talent and provide the resources to expand your work.”
Although oil painting is her preferred art form, Adels’ collection of work includes photography, digital media, sculptures, water and acrylic paintings, with her favorite subjects being animals. With the support of her mother, friends and church family, she continues to submit art pieces to open exhibits. Upon completing an advanced degree at either Montserrat College of Art in Massachusetts or California’s Institute of the Arts, she intends to pursue a career with Disney’s Animation Studios in Burbank, California.
“I recognize the amazing talents of Estelle and Ariel because they represent exactly what RCGC is all about—applying yourself to what this college has to offer to create something the world can admire,” said Beitzel, a professor emeritus of art, who invites the artists to attend Saturday workshops conducted by the Art Educators of South Jersey. He encourages visitors to stop by the Continuing Education Center to view Ha and Adels’ artwork throughout the spring semester.
Rowan College at Gloucester County’s Continuing Education Center is located at 1492 Tanyard Road in Deptford, just off Exit 56 of Route 55.