Co-Lin art student surprised with award – Daily Leader

A Copiah-Lincoln Community College student now has an extra $1,000 to spend on his education.

De-Markus Miller recently received a one-time scholarship from an anonymous donor in honor of Brookhaven artist Rosemary Leggett. She is the current President of the Brookhaven Regional Arts Guild and wife of Dr. Hugh Leggett.

Leggett was asked to choose a student she thought deserved the award, and she chose Miller.

The 20-year-old sophomore art student has a passion for turning what he sees into creative energy that flows through his hands for others to enjoy. The current products of that passion and anything that might come in the future is what made his benefactor choose him, Miller said.

” I can not believe it. I’m shaking,” Miller said as she posed for a photo with the check and her main instructors, Janet Smith and Chris Brady.

A 2017 graduate of Franklin County High School, Miller has been largely self-taught his entire life. Although he took an art class, there wasn’t much guided instruction, he said. So any new techniques or mediums depended on him. When he began to experiment with pen and ink, he found a comfortable place, a medium to which he could return often. He calls it his “safe zone”.

“When I was introduced to pen and ink, I found my style and technique,” Miller said. “Every artist, you can see their hand in their work. When I came into contact with pen and ink, I found my hand.

His extracurricular activities throughout school were “nothing but a pen and a piece of paper, or a pencil and a piece of paper. That’s where I was. That’s what I was doing.

So stepping into her first class at Co-Lin was like stepping into a new world. His exposure to art education had been so limited that he felt his eyes were open to new creative possibilities.

“When I came to Co-Lin, it gave me the opportunity to branch out and create my own art,” he said.

He was first introduced to painting as a medium in a design course. The change from looking at art from the perspective of lines to looking at shapes of color was a very different experience.

“It’s a whole new way of looking at things, with color. I can’t say much about it, but so far I really like it.

He was recently working on an assignment in a painting class when he said his teacher interrupted the class to hand him a check and tell him he had been chosen as a scholarship recipient. Miller was floored.

“It took me by surprise,” he said. “I appreciate it so much.”

He twice won a student competition to be named top of his class, winning the privilege of designing the Co-Lin Christmas print, the sales of which help with both funds for the school’s art department and a annual donation to the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League. The prints are painted by students or teachers.

When he first won the contest, Miller said it was so amazing to know that people would buy something he helped create. He is still both proud and humbled to have won last season’s print design for a second time.

Whatever he does, he said he wanted to represent his family and the school well.

“I try to put 100% into everything. I want to do my best,” he said.

He is enrolled in more than the average full-time course load this semester and spends most of his time outside of the classroom working on assignments to bring back to those classrooms.

“It gets very overwhelming, but I have really good friends who help me and motivate me. They play a big role in getting me through and making things happen,” he said.

As he sometimes needs motivation, he shakes his head when he learns that some younger students turn to him for advice.

“I have trouble with certain techniques. It’s hard for me too,” he said.

But he encourages them to trust their instincts when creating.

“I did and it really helped me. Just trusting your instincts will lead you in the right direction,” he said.

He doesn’t know where his educational journey will take him after leaving Wolves of Wesson, but he knows he won’t give up.

“I was planning to do those two years and then take a break, work and save, but Ms. Janet and Mr. Brady encouraged me to keep going and not stop because nine times out of 10 artists who take a break like who feel comfortable and don’t want to continue their education,” he said.

“But not me. I will continue.

Kayleen C. Rice