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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Will Paxton '11

Hometown: Lynchburg, VA

Major: Studio Art

Minor: Art History

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Arts League
  • Career Services project team
  • Work Study
  • Traveller Driver

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • C. Taylor Crother Studio New York, NY - worked editing photos for album art or publications such as Rolling Stone
Favorite Classes: Besides studio classes, any art history with Pam Simpson--she is an amazing cache of knowledge!

Favorite Campus Landmark: Cadaver Bridge

Upon entering Washington and Lee, I had not yet made the decision to commit my professional life to art.  But it did not take too long for me to realize I would make that commitment, and W&L has provided me many tools to help me along the way.

To many students, a school's facilities are secondary in importance. But for an artist, a good studio space is essential. As a freshman, my class was the first to take advantage of Wilson Hall, and it has been great. Not many schools as small as Washington and Lee can boast such glorious studio spaces. On an academic level, my relationship with the art professors has been deeply enriching. My professors help me twice as much outside the classroom as they do in class, and that's saying a lot. Because of my teachers' involvement, I have been able to arrange one-on-one critiques with well-established artists and critics. At the school-wide level, Washington and Lee provides a self-enriching community. Campus clubs and organizations have contacted me to do creative work for them--opportunities which wouldn't have been realized elsewhere.

Beyond my studio practice, I have developed a firm understanding of art history and art theory, tools that will prove crucial in any graduate program. The broad education I have received at Washington and Lee has strengthened my studio focus in ways a typical art school could not. Washington and Lee offers great travel programs as well as internship opportunities. Thanks to career services and the tight alumni network, I was able to work in New York City this past summer editing photos for publications like Rolling Stone!

Being a student at W&L is something I will miss for the rest of my life, but the opportunities and knowledge it has given me will always be there.