Mikayla Dunn's artwork

Unlocking Potential: The Creative Arts Special Admission Scheme

31 May 2024
Mikayla Kitto shares her inspiring journey and the benefits of CASAS
The Sydney College of the Arts offers a unique opportunity for budding artists through its Creative Arts Special Admission Scheme (CASAS).
Mikayla Dunn poses

CASAS is an innovative program that provides talented individuals with an early pathway into the Bachelor of Visual Arts program at the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), emphasising the importance of artistic talent and potential over traditional academic metrics.

Mikayla Kitto, a current student at the SCA, was drawn to the Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of Sydney because of its distinctive course structure.

"I initially chose a Bachelor of Visual Arts at USYD due to the course structure," Mikayla said.

"I loved how the first year was organized in a way that allowed students to experiment with all the disciplines and gave us the freedom to explore any medium we wanted to."

This flexibility is a cornerstone of the program, encouraging students to explore and develop their unique artistic voices.

Securing her place at SCA through CASAS before receiving her ATAR was a game-changer for Mikayla. This early assurance based on her portfolio not only alleviated exam pressure but also validated her artistic talents.

"It honestly really improved my mental health as it meant that my whole future wasn’t riding on one set of exams," she said.

"It also made me more secure in my artmaking practice as I got accepted based off of my portfolio, consolidating the fact that I had some talent for art which gave me the courage to expand on my own practice."

Mikayla's portfolio preparation was a critical step in her CASAS application. Attending a portfolio evening proved invaluable, as academic guidance helped her refine her selections.

"Most of the works that I included in my portfolio were ones I had created for assessment tasks in years 10-12," Mikayla said.

"The best piece of advice I received was to include as wide a range of material explorations as possible, and for each work to be quite different so that you could show your range of skills."

Mikayla's journey at SCA began with a focus on painting but soon expanded into new realms.

"I originally joined SCA as a painter, however, the first year allowed me to fully explore other disciplines and I fell in love with sculpture and ceramics," Mikayla said.

This exploration led her to specialize in sculpture, where she now works primarily with fabrics and clay, while also expressing interest in metalwork.

Mikayla Dunn's sculpture artwork

Her conceptual practice delves into themes of parental relationships, femininity, and domesticity, enriched by her love of textiles.

Mikayla encourages prospective students to approach their studies with an open mind, her willingness to explore beyond her initial focus on painting allowed her to grow and learn in unexpected ways.

"Prepare to forget everything you think you know and open your brain to new ideas and ways of making," she said.

One of the highlights of Mikayla's first year was the vibrant community at SCA.

"I predominantly enjoy the community," Mikayla said.

"I initially thought that pursuing art at university would mean being surrounded by very competitive people, but I can honestly say that I’ve met some amazing people whilst studying here.

“Everyone just genuinely loves the arts and is interested in each other’s practices."

Looking ahead, Mikayla dreams of becoming a practicing artist and creating a studio space that fosters a community for emerging artists.

"I would love to become a practicing artist, but my complete end goal would be to own a studio space where I can create an environment and community for emerging artists to create and learn from one another."

CASAS has empowered Mikayla to pursue her artistic passions with confidence and creativity. For aspiring artists, the program offers not just admission, but a gateway to a world of artistic exploration and community.

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