“I don’t know that I could have been able to go to college right out of high school elsewhere if COA had not given me this incredible option.”
These are the words of Louise Sanderlin, a graduate of the Professional Crafts: Jewelry program at the Dare County Campus of College of The Albemarle (COA). The daughter of two creative, artistic parents, Sanderlin grew up in Manteo, attended COA, and participated in a local internship that later led to a job in her chosen field, all while continuing to live in the place she loves — the Outer Banks. As she put it, “who wouldn’t want to study art and live at the beach?”
“The program is rigorous, encompassing every skill you’ll need to pursue metalsmithing as a profession, and the keys to be successful,” she said. Classes include one on one time with nationally recognized instructor and metalsmith Kathryn Osgood, who Louise said is extremely supportive and encouraging. The affordability, access and proximity of the program at COA “exceeded all my expectations about community college,” Sanderlin said.
The Professional Crafts: Jewelry studio is outfitted with professional equipment, tools and materials. Each student has his or her own work bench — a rarity in many university jewelry programs. Students also have the ability to exhibit their work in gallery space also located on the campus.
Since graduating, Sanderlin has worked as a bench jeweler for several local businesses, has been employed in several positions with the Dare County Arts Council (where she served as an intern during her studies at COA) and will be soon be launching her own jewelry line.
“COA and the relationships I have developed there have truly led me to wonderful happenings, fabulous jobs and great people.”