For Cortlyn Plunk the arts — acting, writing, drawing, dancing — have been her closest friends since as far back as she can remember. This love fueled the creation of a portfolio that is a celebration of interdisciplinary art-making. Cortlyn’s work is an integrative study of art and theater. This combination “enables me to view illustration not just as a picture, but also as a theatrical stage,” she says. “The creation of worlds and characters allows me to conceive stories that produce strong messages of change and human betterment.”

Cortlyn happily displays her artwork in the US Art show.

Cortlyn’s portfolio was so strong that when a representative from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) saw her work on National Portfolio Day, she immediately offered Cortlyn admission to the school. Acceptances poured in from other art schools as well: In addition to SAIC (currently ranked #2 by US News & World Reports); she was accepted at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA; ranked #8); Parsons the New School (#15); the School of Visual Arts, NYC (SVA; #23); Ringling College of Art and Design, and Savannah College of Art and Design.

Every school to which Cortlyn was admitted offered a generous scholarship. For example, MICA recognized her work with the Da Vinci Award, which is the highest merit scholarship the school offers. SVA offered the SVA Scholarship. When added up, the amount of all the awards exceeded half a million dollars. “That came as a complete surprise to me!” says Cortlyn. “I was happy to get into one school, let alone six, all with great scholarships. But it didn’t hit me how much money it was until I started totaling them. With every hundred thousand that went into my calculator, I was more and more surprised.”

To make her decision, Cortlyn says she took into consideration “each school’s body of work, the alum success, the job rates, the affordability, and the safety of the campus.” She ultimately chose the school that felt right to her — Savannah College of Art and Design.

“I’m excited to meet more artists with both similar and different interests,” Cortlyn says. “You learn a ton from your peers, and I can’t wait to connect with people who share that passion for art. Also, I can’t wait to learn more about the art world and illustration in general. But most of all, I’m excited to grow as an artist and become better at my craft.”

From the moment Cortlyn joined the Legacy community, she’s been a standout artist. Says Lin Mayberry, who taught at Legacy for more than two decades:

“During my years as an art teacher, I came across many young people with great talent. To my surprise, there were always several students whose artistic ability was clearly a divine gift. Even in that cadre, Cortlyn was unique. She has an incredible ability to express everything she feels, especially the private struggles we all share but try so hard to hide. All of that and more are on full display in her imagery.”

Cortlyn's little red illustration project.

Mrs. Mayberry continues: “Some students become our teachers. I often recall her strength and bravery to live as her authentic self. She inspires me to do the same.”

Cortlyn credits Mrs. Mayberry with “fueling the fire to make me become who I am today.” She also cites the importance of the Upper School Digital Design class in shaping the trajectory of her career and giving her the tools she needed to pursue illustration.

Cortlyn’s commitment to the arts has been a blessing to the Legacy community. Although we’ll all miss her, we’re excited to see the work she creates in college and beyond.

Legacy Christian Academy Fine Arts inspires students to discover, develop, and express their creative talents for the glory of God, while fostering a lifelong appreciation of the arts. For the latest information on Legacy fine arts, subscribe today. For more information on Legacy, visit our admissions page.