Fine Art faculty member Nicola Vruwink, whose ArtCenter career started in the Admissions Department, is passionate about creating and mentoring—teaching a newly created ceramics course at ArtCenter allows her to do both. Recently, she has also been busy creating whimsical works and her sculptural jewelry has caught the attention of Hollywood.
Daughter of an artist, she has been creating for as long as she remembers. “I have been making since I left home at 22 and started a studio in my apartment building in Des Moines, Iowa, says Vruwink.
Following an undergraduate degree in English, Vruwink journeyed to the University of Washington in Seattle, where she earned an MFA. “If I had known about ArtCenter growing up, I probably would have wanted to go here,” she reflected. “I’m from Iowa. No one talks about going to art school from Iowa.”
After a stint teaching at the University of Washington, she made her way to Los Angeles. Hoping to teach, but finding it difficult to secure college level jobs without the connections, she saw an opening at ArtCenter for an Admissions position and threw her hat into the ring.
While working full time for the Admissions department, Vruwink started creating jewelry as an outlet for her creative energies.
“The jewelry came about because I didn’t have the time or the mental capacity, really, to make bigger scale works. It was making wearable sculptures,” she says.
Finding she needed more time to devote to creating and teaching, seven years after she started, Vruwink left ArtCenter’s Admissions department and began teaching fine art & design courses at numerous colleges in the Greater L.A. region. Things took an unexpected turn last year when Associate Chair of Fine Art Laura Cooper approached her about starting a ceramics course at ArtCenter.