Finding His Path: Troy Mathews ‘16


"I’ve been taken to a world where art is on the highest level and seen that as a possibility. Being here has been a blessing."

Five years ago, Troy Mathews ‘16 was living in a garage and struggling to stay focused and motivated. At the same time, he was also working as a school bus driver and telling his young passengers that they could be and do anything they wanted.

One day, they flipped the question around on him, “Is this what you want to be, Mr. Mathews? A school bus driver?”

It wasn’t. Troy had dreams of pursuing painting as something more than an activity between his AM and PM shifts. “I saw painting as something that could fulfill me as a human being, could give me purpose in life. I would go to First Thursday at PNCA and dream of seeing my paintings up on those walls.”

So Troy took the risk of applying to PNCA and was accepted.

“I got the acceptance letter, but I also got the bill. And I had to tell PNCA that I couldn’t make it, thank you for the opportunity, but this is way outside my price range.”

But then PNCA emailed Troy again, with the news that he had been awarded significant scholarship funding from PNCA’s donor-supported general scholarship fund. A PNCA education was now possible.

Troy Mathews

“Those scholarships felt like PNCA was betting on me, so I had to bet on myself,” said Troy. “And I’ve kept that in my heart since I’ve been here.”

Scholarships allow students like Troy to focus on color and composition instead of on whether they need to work another shift or get a second job.

“My story is not unique,” says Troy. “There are a hundred students just like me. And we all want to say thank you. You’ve made our time at PNCA possible.”

Troy Mathews

Troy graduated this winter with a degree in Painting and is already pursuing a Master’s degree in arts education. During his time at PNCA, Troy has been challenged by his teachers and inspired by his classmates.

“I’m finding my voice in the world and have had time to figure out what I want to make in the world, how I want to say things. I’ve discovered that my practice not only includes an artistic practice, but a curation practice. I’ve been able to go to the Venice Biennale. I’ve been taken to a world where art is on the highest level and seen that as a possibility. Being here has been a blessing.”

Troy Mathews

— Posted on 04/28 at 05:12 PM

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