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A Full Canvas

Ashlynn Cedrone
Ashlynn Cedrone

Tucked into a corner studio at Keene State College’s Redfern Arts Center, Ashlynn Cedrone is in her own little world. Tightly securing a dark navy smock—already camouflaged with multi-colored speckles of paint from previous projects—around her waist, the senior studio art major peers intently at a photograph before delivering the first brush strokes to the large white canvas in front of her.

“To be honest, I zone out. I don’t think of anything when I’m painting,” said Cedrone, who is originally from upstate New York and now calls the Granite State home. “It’s very meditative. It’s very therapeutic. Being a busy student, I think a lot during the day so I tune out and just do it. It’s like being on auto pilot.”

Like many students, Cedrone found her passion at Keene State College. “I wouldn’t want to be anything else right now other than an artist,” she said. “I really love making art and that’s the most important thing to me. It’s something I love more than anything else in the world.”

Her post-Keene State plans include going to graduate school and teaching at the college level. She’s already had a taste of education, having filled in for one of her professors for a couple of days here. She loved the experience.

Cedrone wouldn’t be able to follow her heart and pursue her passion for art without the generous support of Keene State donors. Financial support enables students like her to cultivate their natural gifts, surrounded by a supportive and encouraging faculty and staff. “It means everything,” she said. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t have financial aid.”

Cedrone showed her artistic side at a very young age. “My mom always told me that the second I could pick up a pencil, I was drawing,” said Cedrone. “I always liked it.”

Demonstrating her artistic flair and flourishing at Franklin (NH) High, Cedrone faced the typical questions of those considering a career in art – even from herself. “At first, I didn’t want to do art as a job and be one of those starving artists,” she said. “My mom, who is a nurse, felt the same way, and wanted me to be a doctor. I told my high school art teacher that and she talked me out of it in five minutes.”

Further inspired by a workshop she attended at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester following her junior year, Cedrone came to Keene State ready to fill a blank canvas with expressive works of art and to make memories.

Those memories include numerous displays of her work in shows around campus and in Keene, trips to museums in New York City, and, most importantly, working with a devoted faculty that has influenced her work and instilled self-confidence. “The Keene State faculty has been tremendous,” said Cedrone. “They all have been very helpful, and I love them all.”

For Cedrone, the long days and nights spent developing her craft in the Redfern Arts Center were worth it. It was truly a labor of love. “To excel, make an impact, and get more opportunities, you have to earn it—you have to work very hard,” she said. “I’m creating things all day and it’s exhausting on one hand, but it’s also very rewarding. I don’t feel like I’m going to a job. I’m doing what I love to do.”

Looking forward to earning her degree in May and moving on to the next chapter in her life, which includes traveling and taking part in a work exchange program next fall. Cedrone is extremely thankful for her time at Keene State.

To learn more about Ashlynn, her process, and the unique joys and challenges of being a young artist today, read this interview in The Tonic

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