Student of the Arts: Nicole Anderson

Nicole Anderson picked up her first paintbrush at UNC Charlotte and found her passion. Anderson, 22, will graduate this May with a bachelor's degree in fine art and concentration in painting. She is working on a mural in Robinson Hall for the Performing Arts. The project will be installed in late March. The theme pays homage to her hometown of Charlotte. And it all started with one class.

New direction Before painting, Anderson's concentration was in graphic design, an offshoot of her drawing experience. After her Painting I class, the canvas became her life. Today, she completes pieces in no more than three sittings so she doesn't lose the energy.

Going native Anderson's friends are also from Charlotte. "We gravitate toward each other and have this common bond." Anderson and her collaborator, Missy Mace, plan to sketch performers and incorporate figurative, abstract and architectural elements. "We want it to feel very lively because that's how Charlotte feels to us," she says.

Paying it forward "In my future career, I will use art to help others discover their personality and talents." Tutoring children is her ideal job after she graduates. The bigger picture is to pay it forward to potential artists. She can "imagine helping people through how I helped myself."