RIVERVIEW — Angela Sulick grew up in Titusville appreciating art and can't remember a year in school when she didn't have at least one art class.
"I think every semester that I could throughout middle school, high school and college, I was always taking art classes," Sulick said.
Encouraged by a friend to pursue her talent, she decided to start creating and marketing her own work.
"I started creating a lot more and realizing, 'okay, I can do this.' And I really wanted to go to school for art as well, but it was just so expensive. So I decided to go ahead and get the 9-to-5 job and the side job and build it like I am now."
Now, Sulick will display her passion at the Winthrop Arts Festival on Saturday and Sunday as the event's featured budding artist.
Her participation culminates a search for support she couldn't find in Titusville.
The art scene in her hometown proved virtually nonexistent. Inhabitants of the beachside town had a limited interest in art, wanting more landscaping and nature-oriented works than anything abstract or referencing pop culture.
Sulick found herself wanting to share her art with a younger, more open-minded demographic — one that would appreciate what she had to offer.
It wasn't until nearly four years later that Sulick discovered Winthrop Arts through her job designing and selling kitchens at Home Depot. She learned about Winthrop Arts' work with children at its Arts Factory from a flier at the local Starbucks and applied.
"I thought it was really cool to see an organization like that in a town, and I kind of wanted to see what that was all about and what he was all about," Sulick said about town artist Bryant Martinez, who oversees the Arts Factory. "He invited me to help out … and I've been doing that for the last month."
With no previous experience working with children, Sulick found it refreshing to break away from the seriousness of everyday work and adult life.
"I work with adults all day, and everything is very adult-like and all business. So once a week, for a couple of hours, I get to hang out with the kids, and I get to break that adult barrier," Sulick said. "It's nice to kind of just let loose and do silly artwork, fun artwork, things that have no boundaries to them."
Inspiration comes to her in the form of interaction, and sometimes, she believes interacting with the children she works with on Mondays as well as other artists contributes to her art. Sharing that inspiration is a lifetime goal.
"She inspired several students with her creativity and expression in arts," Martinez said. "She makes really fun art with the students."
The festival will be her first community event with the organization, which recently received its 501(c)(3) status, making it eligible for federal grants. Sulick has multiple pieces prepared and is thrilled to share her art as a member of Winthrop Arts.
"It was such a surprise, so I kind of freaked out a little bit when Bryant asked me about it," Sulick said. "You have all of these dreams and goals of what you want to be as an artist, but to actually finally have someone take you seriously or really care about where your art career goes, it was just a really great surprise."
For Martinez, including Sulick not only enhances the festival, but underscores Winthrop Arts.
"To share this excitement with Angela and all the other fine artists is a great honor," Martinez said. "I feel we are becoming a true community with arts."
Contact Kelsey Sunderland at firstname.lastname@example.org.