From student to artist, STC opens doors of opportunity
Karla Gabriela De La Fuente graduated from South Texas College in 2016 and has returned as a featured artist with her first solo exhibit title, “Hecho a Mano: Paperworks.
Karla Gabriela De La Fuente graduated from South Texas College in 2016 and has returned, not as a student, but a featured artist with her first solo exhibit at the college’s Technology campus Library.
Recently, De La Fuente was invited to host an artist talk to introduce her exhibit, “Hecho a Mano: Paperworks,” an art series that investigates the human experience on the border and incorporates the use of organic materials of the Rio Grande Valley, in addition to Mexican paper-making techniques, in her handmade paper.
A lot of De La Fuente’s art also includes elements such as espinas, or thorns, and snakeskin.
The 32-year-old Valley native said STC has helped her realize her dream of becoming an artist in more ways than one.
“My journey toward becoming an artist has taken a while. I was only a kid when I began experimenting with colors and mixtures using everything from crayons to lipstick,” said De La Fuente. “Fast forward, I began my college journey at a four-year university studying art, but I decided I needed something safer, and I made the switch to education.”
Through my art, I want our community to feel represented. I want it to invoke a memory and provide insight into our region and culture and STC was the first to let me really do that with this exhibit. I’m grateful to STC for opening its doors to me as a student and an artist and giving me so many opportunities.
Changing majors including enrolling at STC for De La Fuente, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from the college in 2016, which led to her teaching career and her self realization that Art is her true passion.
“STC really was a great place for me to learn and find my true self and true calling,” said De La Fuente. “And now to be back as an artist, with my first exhibit and to share this
with my alma mater is a true honor; I’m proud. It’s mind blowing, never thought this would happen.”
But for several years before this, she taught literature and art history to middle and high school students, all while still struggling with the idea of becoming an artist.
“I felt something was missing, and it was my art,” she said.
Therefore, De La Fuente returned to school, this time to pursue a master’s degree in Art from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She is expected to complete this degree in the coming months.
In fact, her exhibit Hecho a Mano: Paperworks was created as part of a class project. Since then, she has created other art works which are on display at Paper Caper Co. on South Padre Island and Small Works Members Show Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Illinois.
“Through my art, I want our community to feel represented,” said De La Fuente. “I want it to invoke a memory and provide insight into our region and culture and STC was the first to let me really do that with this exhibit. I’m grateful to STC for opening its doors to me as a student and an artist and giving me so many opportunities.”
De La Fuente said this chapter is the just beginning, she hopes to continue growing as an artist and being an inspiration for her children and her community.
For more information on Bachelor’s Programs and Art programs at STC, visit https://bachelors.southtexascollege.edu/
Registration for spring 2024 is now underway.