"I graduated from Aquinas College in 2017 with a double major in History and Art History. Throughout my studies at Aquinas, my appreciation for art and local history increased and I developed an interest in historical research. In my junior year I participated in the Ireland Study Abroad program in 2016 where I was overwhelmed by its historical sites, national art works, and collection of museums. This year I’m headed back to Ireland as a graduate student in the Museum Studies program at University College Cork. The program consists of taught courses, day excursions, a curated museum exhibition, work placements in regional and national museums, and a dissertation."
Pat Maguire '11
A powerful piece of art is like a vehicle, transporting the viewer to a state of contemplation. In the driver’s seat is Aquinas College alumnus Pat Maguire ‘11, whose deeply expressive oil paintings and installations are making a name in the art community.
Many of Maguire’s pieces feature windows, archways, and doorways, which are meant to represent the threshold between reality and fantasy.
“It’s a restful, peaceful place where the mind goes in its meditative state,” said Maguire.
Despite possessing immense artistic talent, Maguire said he didn’t come to Aquinas to pursue art. He had wanted to teach special education, until a passion was awakened in a drawing class with Chair of the Art department, Stephen Schousen.
“He pulled me aside one day and encouraged me to pursue art,” said Maguire. “I think he saw that I was really enjoying something.”
Maguire continued to take art classes and eventually decided to pursue a Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA).
“I was drawn to the BFA program because you got one-on-one attention,” said Maguire. “You got to work with the whole faculty and develop personal relationships with your professors. You don’t get that opportunity at different schools.”
Maguire said the experience of painting next to his professors helped him grow as an artist.
“I got to talk to them and pick their brains,” Maguire said. “I would think to myself, ‘Wow, these people are having so much fun, and so am I.’”
Maguire said his professors also taught him to be a self-advocate, and the and instilled a sense of importance of being involved in the community.
“Being an artist, you aren’t just someone in the studio,” Maguire said. “You have to be someone in the community. My professors were part of the community at Aquinas, but also a big part of the Grand Rapids art community.”
Maguire said that the professional relationships he built with his professors as an undergraduate have transformed into lasting friendships.
“I still stay in touch with them," said Maguire. "It’s a friendship that will always be there.”
Maguire, who completed a master in fine arts degree at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and now lives in Pennsylvania, briefly returned to his Aquinas community in the fall of 2014, when he put on an art show at the Aquinas Art and Music Center.
His advice to students pursuing a BFA? “Be your awesome self. Believe in what you do and go after it. It’ll pay off for you in the end.”
View Maguire’s artwork at http://patrickmaguire.net/.