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CFCC AFA-Visual Arts Grad Transfers from the Port City to the Windy City

Estep
CFCC Associate in Fine Arts-Visual Arts graduate Jack Estep admits to not being ready for a 4-year university right after high school. The CFCC Merit Scholar decided that Cape Fear Community College was a great juncture between high school and the university level. Not only was the cost more affordable, but classes were also smaller, and CFCC offers a well-respected art degree program.

“The overall atmosphere at CFCC was a breath of fresh air. It felt way more freeing than the high school experience I had.”

Award Winning Student

As well as being an academic scholarship recipient, Estep is also an award-winning student artist. Many of Estep’s artwork won first place in the annual student art shows at CFCC. In 2019, an entry in the Student Art Exhibition held at the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery took home Best In Show honors. That particular winning piece of art, “Where the Wild Things Go,” is permanently on display at the home of CFCC Art Instructor Victoria Paige. “Jack’s drawing is based on my travels to Australia and how much I loved the kookaburra among other things,” shared Paige. “I have never seen anyone so naturally gifted. Jack has perceptions about ideas that get translated into art.”

Paige also serves as club advisor for CFCC’s Creative Arts Club in which Estep was very active. Club activities include workshops, art sales, pizza parties, and face painting. “I highly recommend getting involved in school activities because I got a lot out of what I participated in,” commented Estep. “The friends I made were some of the nicest people I’ve met. This is where you will meet some of the most important people of your life.”

Encouraging Creative Development

Estep also credits his CFCC art instructors for a great experience. Participating in the annual Student Art Show and the occasional classes that were held outdoors on the riverfront make up some of Estep’s favorite memories.

“I really felt like my instructors challenged my skills. I received everything I needed, so my art skills blossomed here.” Estep revealed. “I believe the instructors, staff, and friends pushed me forward to where I am now. I have some great connections because of them.”

That positive push gave Estep the confidence to apply to the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where he is pursuing his Bachelor’s of Fine Art with a focus on illustration. SAIC is ranked as one of the top art schools in the United States. Estep will soon share alumni status with renowned artists such as Georgia O’Keefe, American Gothic painter Grant Wood, comedic actress Nora Dunn, and fashion designer Cynthia Rowley.

“While being in Chicago is a very cool experience, I really miss my time at CFCC and wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I am very glad I chose to go there first before transferring.”

Big City Dreams Seasoned with Small City Flavor


As much as Estep has enjoyed the past year in Chicago, the Wilmington native is happy to return home for the summer and get involved in the local art community. Estep will be helping teach a couple of youth classes at the Cameron Art Museum while working on new pieces that will be available for sale at area vendors.

If you would like to see more of Estep’s artwork, you can view two of his silk paintings that are still hanging in the hallway of the WA building on CFCC’s downtown campus. A more extensive collection can be viewed on Estep’s Artstation site .

Interested in CFCC’s Associate of Fine Arts programs? Learn more today.

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