Artist Found Her Passion at WPCC


The first time Kathryn Ervin ever enrolled in an art class was at Western Piedmont Community College and it was in that class that she discovered her passion.  She ultimately graduated with her Associate’s Degree from WPCC in 2010 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from East Carolina University in 2014.  The talented artist now teaches art at New Dimensions and recently co-founded TOSS (The Old School Studio), a local arts advocacy group in Morganton.

Ervin, a Morganton native and one of six children, is related to Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr.  She was primarily homeschooled until she participated in the Career & College Promise (CCP) program at Western Piedmont. This program enables high school juniors and seniors to take tuition-waived college classes and earn college credit while still attending high school. While all CCP students pay fees and for books, the value of the tuition waiver can potentially save families thousands of dollars in college tuition.

Enrolling in classes at WPCC allowed Ervin to explore her interests and find her educational pathway in a nurturing setting. She explained, “I wouldn’t have known what to study before I went to WPCC.”

She was inspired by her WPCC instructors, calling them “top-notch.”  Her life was greatly impacted by one instructor who recognized her talent and encouraged her to consider attending art school.

Ervin said, “Going to Western Piedmont made sense both financially and logistically.  After my first art class, I knew that I wanted to get my associate’s degree and then transfer.”

Her career goals are now being realized through various projects such as art scavenger hunts, community art projects and her work with TOSS, which includes an afterschool art program for children.  Ervin said, “I want to facilitate hopeful creativity.”  Her belief is that art can transform lives and positively impact the world, and she is committed to “encourage and inspire, to incite curiosity and provoke wonder, and to entice a generation of students to creative problem solving and empathetic living.”

Offering advice to current and prospective WPCC students, Ervin shared, “Don’t be afraid to take your education in hand, get engaged, and take advantage of Western Piedmont’s many resources.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, go out on a limb during a class discussion.  Your educational experience is what you make it.  It’s up to each student.”

Credits earned in WPCC’s Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degree programs will transfer to any college or university in the University of North Carolina (UNC) System, in addition to a large number of in-state independent schools.


Rising high school juniors and seniors are encouraged to apply for the Career and College Promise program at Western Piedmont. Contact your high school guidance counselor; Jennifer Propst, Enrollment Management Director, at (828) 448-6051 (email:; or visit for more information.

Western Piedmont Community College is situated in the picturesque rolling foothills of Morganton, North Carolina, and has served the citizens of Burke County since 1964.  In addition to creating $177.8 million in added regional income, the College offers more than 100 degree, diploma and certification programs designed to provide accessible, high-quality education that improve lives and promote growth in Burke County.  For more information visit