General Info > News Releases > Archived Releases 2008-09 > 2009-02-04: Mendocino College Student Finds Outlet with Art

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 4, 2009

MENDOCINO COLLEGE, 1000 Hensley Creek Road, Ukiah, CA 95482

Contact:     Chris Snyder, Media Assistant
                 T: 707-468-3098 or 707-489-5699, Fax: 707-467-1023
File: –  Vernida Brown

Mendocino College student finds outlet with art

Ukiah, CA- While visiting the Career and Transfer Center at Mendocino College, you will undoubtedly notice some impressive portraits.  What you might not know is that those portraits were created by a current Mendocino College student.
    Vernida Brown is the Mendocino College student responsible for all the portraits you see in the college bookstore, art building and Career and Transfer Center.  
    Brown, who is set to receive her Associate of Arts Degree this spring, started taking classes at Mendocino College in 2004.  
    It was while in counseling at Project Sanctuary that Brown decided she wanted to be a student.
    “The counselor asked me what I want to do with my life and I said I wanted to be in a room with paint.  She then said, ‘go to school’,” Brown said.
Brown, who was raised in Wilmington, DE and moved to Napa, CA right after she graduated from high school, could have chosen any school, but decided on Mendocino College because of its location and student diversity.  
Brown raves about Mendocino’s art program, along with the professors who impacted her.
“It is a great art program at Mendocino.  They show you so many different techniques and they transfer to other areas that help you exceed.  Everything you see in my portraits is from Mendocino College teaching and experience,” Brown said.
According to Brown, she was shy as a student because she was older and didn’t know what to expect, but Professor Paula Gray made her feel comfortable.
“If it was not for Professor Gray, I probably wouldn’t have remained in the program. I excelled as an art student because of her,” Brown said.  
The first art class Brown took at Mendocino College was Gray’s Color and Composition Class.  Gray recalls Brown “knocking her socks off” from the first assignment.  
“Everything she does in her Art has meaning and significance and real tangible content. I feel privileged to have her in my classes and watch how she interprets  assignments and projects.  The other students also gain by seeing what she does and hearing her take on her own and their work during critiques.  She is motivated, hard working, and extremely creative.  I look forward to seeing her and her Artwork for years to come,” Gray said.
She also credits Professors Holly Brackmann, Susan Gross and Nancy Teeling for the influence they had on her as a student.
“Mendocino College has given me the opportunity to showcase my exhibits and that has opened more doors for people wanting my work,” Brown said.
According to Brown, people from Fresno to Tennessee have wanted her to do some art for them.
The opportunities she has gained at Mendocino College have allowed her to open her own portrait business in Calpella, CA.   
Brown has been running her business from home since August 2008.  She will travel to her clients home if necessary or paint from a photo that is forwarded to her by mail.  
Besides her involvement with art, Brown helps out in the Mendocino College Student Recreation Room and Career and Transfer Center.  Brown is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Mendocino College Art Club.  She was involved with Associated Students of Mendocino College (ASMC).  
Along with the success Brown has in the art room, she has excelled in the classroom.  She was awarded a commendation from ASMC (2007-2008), been named exemplary student in April 2008 and received a full time faculty award in Academic Excellence in May 2008.
Brown has also obtained several scholarships.  She received the Mary Oosting Fine Art Award in 2007 and the Mendocino County Art Association Ina May Scott Memorial Scholarship in 2008.
For now, Brown is putting off heading to a four-year school until her son graduates from high school.  In the mean time, she will continue to paint portraits and expand her business, while hoping to build a name for herself as an artist.
“One day I hope to see my work on display in a big metropolitan museum,” Brown added.  
Contact Brown for additional details on her portraits at (707) 485-5562 or  
For more information on the Mendocino College Art Department, visit  

Created: February 04, 2009 @ 09:47 AM
Last Modified: May 08, 2009 @ 08:26 AM


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