Mill Run native Carmen May chose to pursue art as a career almost by accident.

Beginning this month, the public will have the opportunity to view the results of that happy accident when the Waynesburg University senior exhibits her photography, sculpture and pottery at the university’s Benedum Fine Arts Gallery.

May hails from what she calls an “artistic, creative family,” but it wasn’t until nearly halfway through her college career that she decided to become a professional artist.

“My pap taught me to draw faces and horses,” she said, adding that he remains her biggest inspiration as an artist.

When May first enrolled at Waynesburg University, she opted to major in business and marketing.

But, after taking several elective art courses, she found herself with enough credits to dual major in marketing and art, a development she says she’s “very happy about.”

While she continued to study drawing and painting, along with art history, her own artistic interests evolved and she realized her real passion was for photography, sculpture and pottery.

She attributes her love for photography to the fact that it’s a more active medium.

Similarly, she says she enjoys pottery because she likes the physical nature of working with clay.

“I like to work with my hands, and I like to be an active person,” May said. “With photography, you can go anywhere and see so much and what you see becomes art.”

Much of her work has a nature theme, and the artist also loves travel and the outdoors.

She has a special affinity for winter sports, and spent last summer interning at Utah based Ramp Sports, a skiing and snowboarding equipment company.

She hopes to work in the skiing and snowboarding industry after graduation, perhaps as a graphic designer, and says she’s interested in relocating to Utah.

“I loved it. Utah’s very different from Pennsylvania,” May said. “But out west is where the skiing and snowboarding industry is.”

Along with nature, she says she draws inspiration for her work from the people she travels with and the places she goes.

In addition to her grandfather, she credits several Waynesburg University art professors with helping her realize her artistic vision. She also thanks her family and friends for their continuing encouragement and support.

May’s nature and travel themed exhibit, representing the best of the work she’s done while a student at Waynesburg University, will remain on display until March 8.

Admission is free and gallery hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays or by appointment.

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