Art born from music

Upon entering the Waynesburg University Fine Arts Department, different sounds may fill the air. It might be the sound of the concert band practicing. It might be a potter slabbing clay for their next piece. But one student, in particular, prefers her own sounds to fill her ears.

Kaitlin Leadbitter, a sophomore art major, is that student. A student who listens to her own music and background noises while she works on her next masterpiece in the department of fine arts. 

“I love listening to music because I feel like my brain always paints a picture. It feels like I’m watching a movie in my head,” Leadbitter said. “It was creating stories and it felt like I was watching cinematography in my brain.”  

Her love for the arts started young. In elementary school, Leadbitter found herself getting in trouble for doodling during class and having her sketchbooks taken away by her teachers. 

“I’d have my sketchbook on my lap and the teacher would be like ‘What are you doing? Give me that.’ It was either that or always like a book. I was always reading or doing something else,” Leadbitter said. 

When the time came for her to leave for college and choose a major, Leadbitter had a lot of indecision. Although she had a strong love for art, it was not her first thought when the time came to choose. 

“I fought against it a lot,” Leadbitter said. “In high school, I was looking at other majors. Since my sophomore year of high school, I was looking at STEM positions and medical stuff because that’s what my parents did.”

Leadbitter was mainly concerned about job security surrounding an art-based job, but her love for the arts quickly changed her mind.

“When I got here and I had drawing my first semester, it was one class and I was like ‘Dang it, I want to do this,’” Leadbitter said.

Now, in her second year of college, Leadbitter has fully embraced the artist within and found inspiration in her professors such as Lisa Rasmussen, an adjunct professor who has had pieces displayed in the city of Pittsburgh, and Emily Wiedner, who oversees her on-campus work-study for the fine arts department. 

Leadbitter is active in the Design Club on campus, as well as WU’s Line Improv Club, Sting Swing Club and is the vice president of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance on campus.  

She shares her love of art with others as she volunteers at the Eva K. Bowlby Library with children’s art classes. 

Leadbitter’s main art mediums are acrylic painting and pen drawing, focusing on creating art inspired by the world around her.

“I have this one painting that I really like,” Leadbitter said. “It was this fall and me and my friends went out hammocking. I just kind of closed my eyes and was taking in the sun and everything. We were doing a lot of abstract work in design for art and I kind of just painted what came to my brain and it turned out weird but that was how the moment felt to me.”

According to Leadbitter, her artistic side allows her to see the world differently than others.

“I feel like it also branches off into other things that I deal with. If I have a conflict or tough problems to deal with, I tend to look at it out of the box and from different angles,” Leadbitter said. “I think that’s helped me and the way I do artistic things. Trial and error kind of seeps over into other things.”

Although her career at Waynesburg University is still in its early phases, Leadbitter said that after school she might want to dive into more work with galleries, painting or possibly animation.