Miriam Ahladas '93: "I credit R-MC for the opportunity to learn something about
On many days, you can find Miriam Ahladas '93 hard at work in her
art studio, upstairs in the lovely Ashland home she shares with her husband John.
The space brims with the accoutrements of the artist-in-residence: brushes, a paint-flecked
palette, canvasses. “I love my studio,” says Ahladas as she scans her colorful domain,
“but I really love painting outdoors. I let nature speak to me and I describe that
beauty through my painting.”
Ahladas, wife of R-MC treasurer John Ahladas, grew up in a family with a deep appreciation
for art. “But I never felt that I could create art—until I attended Randolph-Macon,”
she says. “I needed one Fine Arts credit, so I dared myself to sign up for Drawing
101, taught by Professor Dawn Latane. On the first day of class she asked us to
draw some chairs she had arranged in the room. I didn’t know how in the world I’d
begin and I thought, ‘I’ve signed up for the wrong thing.’”
But the next day brought with it a fresh perspective. Latane sent her students outside
to sketch and “I decided to become like a child, to let go and relax,” says Ahladas.
Returning to school as an adult had several advantages. “I had a greater appreciation
for my educational experience. My professors told me I added to the class because
of my maturity,” she says. Ahladas’ discovery of art—and herself—blossomed. “I credit
R-MC for the opportunity to learn something about myself,” she says. She graduated
Magna cum Laude with a major in English and
a minor in education.
Ahladas’ birthplace—Norway—is a source of inspiration to her. “It is exciting to
express my love for my heritage through my art,” she explains. The artist recently
added a new form of expression to her repertoire—fiber art. Colorful ribbons of
fabric hang on a wall in her studio, providing a creative nudge for Ahladas, who
uses a technique called art quilting to craft landscapes mounted onto frames. A
recent project took shape after she was inspired by a beautiful piece of Norwegian
bark. “Fiber art is an expression of how I feel emotionally and spiritually,” she
Ahladas’ advice for students interested in pursuing an art career is heartfelt.
“Everyone has talent. It takes desire and opportunity…you just have to find your
means of expression.”