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Art & Business with Kate Lawson

We are often asked what kind of career a young artist can have once they enter the working world. While there is a huge range of possibilities, we wanted to share how Holt School alumni, Kate Lawson, is combining her passion for art with her love for business. She is currently a student at UNC Chapel Hill majoring in business, but that hasn't stopped her from making art.

We first met Kate at 8 years old, when she started classes at Holt School. "My parents recognized and encouraged my interest in art, and encouraged me to take classes at Holt School of Fine Art. Right from that first class, I was eager to continue at Holt and grow as an artist. I distinctly remember staring at a tiger painting by Holt Cleaver, feeling inspired to create art of similar quality one day." Kate's first class started a 10 year journey at Holt School. After watching her for 10 years there are so many moments we are proud to share, so instead, we asked Kate to share one of her favorite moments. "I decided to tackle a large oil painting, completely out of my comfort zone. At just 12 years old, completing that painting became one of my proudest achievements, met with encouragement from my Holt instructors. It may have taken 8 months, but nonetheless, I was proud. This was the first moment where I recognized my artistic talents, and gained confidence in my work."

Although Kate isn't attending classes at Holt School anymore, her time spent here continues to play an important role in her life. "During college, I've focused on improving my watercolor skills, since it's more feasible outside a studio setting. This started my senior year of high school, when I created a watercolor series portraying iconic architecture from local colleges. At first, I planned to give these to my close friends upon graduation, but it sparked the idea to create my first business model. Through trial and error, I learned to create prints of my art, allowing me to sell on a larger scale and have inventory in college."

That isn't all she has accomplished so far. Kate's art is now playing a role in her college classes and we couldn't be more proud of her latest accomplishment. "This fall, I sold my art prints, dedicating 100% of the profits to my entrepreneurship class project. This project focused on generating profits for a purpose, with all earnings to support Make-A-Wish and Innovate Carolina. My team successfully raised over $5,000, through support of my art and our custom sweatshirts." Through all her efforts, Kate had some exciting news to share with us! "Recently, I've been accepted into the Kenan-Flagler Business School, an achievement I credit to art. Through expanding my art business, I've collaborated with local and national charities, using my art prints to raise funds. These experiences provided invaluable insights into the realms of business and philanthropy, which has prepared me for a business education."

In the future, Kate hopes to continue expanding her business and make time to create more art. She currently sells her prints and creates paintings of homes and other architecture on commission. You can follow Kate's artistic journey on Instagram using the link below.


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