Jupiter High’s Art Pathfinder to attend Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a $100,000 scholarship


Melanie Cilella

Melanie Cilella posing next to her art at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in West Palm Beach, Fla. where she won two gold keys, two silver keys and three honorable mentions in the category of drawing and illustration.

This year’s Pathfinder nominee for Art, senior Melanie Cilella, was recently admitted to the prestigious Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, her ideal school since sophomore year, with a sizable $100,000 scholarship for their class of 2023.

“I was so surprised, excited and humbled when I opened my acceptance email and learned that I get to go to my dream school,” Cilella said.

Cilella moved from Illinois to Florida eleven years ago and her decision to apply for the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design was influenced by her home state.

“When I was looking at colleges, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design just came up and I was just gravitated to it. [Milwaukee] is close to where I am from, but at the same time it’s very different,” Cilella said.

When the application process began Cilella knew she wanted to attend an art school.

“I wasn’t really liking the idea of having to do more general education when I know that I want to do art,” Cilella explained.

Cilella has demonstrated her passion for art throughout her high school career, earning a 4 on the AP 2-D Design portfolio exam, a 5 on the AP Drawing portfolio exam and Best Overall in AP 2-D Design. She is also the art Pathfinder for Jupiter High.

“When they told me I was a pathfinder I was so grateful. I felt so amazing to know these respected people like my work and what I am doing. The fact that they believed in me enough to make me a pathfinder nominee was incredible feeling,” Cilella said.

Cilella was not always a talented artist, she started out like any other little kid and continued to develop her passion.

“I started doing art when I was about eight and I just sort of stuck with it because it really fascinated me,” Cilella said. Cilella also explained how watching the television show “L.A. Ink” amazed her.

“It was so cool how [the contestants] could do that on someone’s body,” Cilella stated.

Cilella used her awe of tattooing to create some of her most impressive work: her surrealist self-portraits. She began drawing self-portraits because she could alter the lighting or scenery exactly how she wanted it.

“I started using myself as a reference because I thought that if I draw myself and it doesn’t look like me, I won’t get offended. People always said ‘you’re good at art, will you draw me?’ and I never wanted to draw friend in case it came out bad,” Cilella joked.

In the future, Cilella hopes to be her own boss by owning a company that sells her work, prints her art on clothing and makes designs for other people.