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Art class to help students get in touch with true career path

Did you scribble as a child, pose in a tutu, watch airplanes soar overhead and long to be the pilot? As a child, each of us automatically knew what path we should take in life, says Nja One.

She plans to offer a six-week course, the Pure Imagination art class, beginning at 2 p.m. Jan. 11 at 6600 W. Charleston Blvd., Suite 123. Using various media, it will explore the healing power of art, One said, to help people get back in touch with the path they were meant to take.

Each session is two hours. The cost is $234, plus minimal art supplies. Registration is required at (search for Pure Imagination).

“When you live the life that you were meant to live, everything becomes so much more fulfilling,” she said. “It fills everything up with so much joy. If you can grab that passion and infuse it into what you’re doing now, it’s not a job any more. You’ll really be enjoying life. … I want to bring back that wonder, that imagination. It brings you back to where you’re supposed to be, your complete self.”

The course is capped at 70 attendees. Students must be 17 or older. One offered a similar program last summer, but it had a broader spectrum.

“This one, I made it much more concentrated, so everyone will get a much better impact out of it,” One said.

The inspiration for the class came as she was watching one of her favorite childhood movies, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.”

“One of the songs in it is ‘Pure Imagination,’ ” she said. “Still to this day, I’ll watch it and start crying. But I didn’t realize the words to the song: ‘Come with me into this world of pure imagination … anything you want to do, you can do it,’ and so Pure Imagination is using the tools of your imagination to create the person, the future, you want.”

As a child, One drew every chance she got, but her mother always pushed her to become a nurse. So she became a nurse and was good at it but said she always knew something was lacking. After raising her children, One returned to her love of art and now has an international presence as an artist, a playwright, an illustrator and a performer. The Gateway Arts Foundation proclaimed her as the “First Woman Muralist for the City of Las Vegas.”

She is also certified in neuro-linguistic programming, which comes into play for the Pure Imagination class.

Pure Imagination is set to include different art projects and mental exercises to help one discover what their instinctive leaning always was. Why do people lose sight of that?

“I think life just gets in the way, life and peer pressure and living someone else’s idea of what you should be,” One said.

The course uses various projects to help reconnect attendees with their natural career inclination.

One project is making a totem pole. The pole represents who you are and brings in items that symbolize your core self. One’s totem pole includes fabrics to represent the different sides of herself and a miniature doll complete with a paintbrush, pottery and her trademark floor-length braids.

“Each project builds on the theme,” One said. “My art healed me, and I believe it heals other people as well.”

Another project is on self-examination. It includes making a self-portrait, but the student gets to paint only half of his face. The other face is filled in by a classmate, so participants can see how others view them.

Another class looks at the five phases of life. Yet another uses storyboarding to delve into one’s own “superhero” attributes.

“I think it gives people self-confidence,” One said. “In fact, I know it does. Look at me. I used to be a scared little rabbit.”

At the end of the class, students can participate in an exhibition at the facility if they choose to.

Camille Duskin, co-founder of the Gateway Arts Foundation, said art is a way for one to get in touch with his natural feelings.

“It’s a tool that takes you back to your most simplest form, not encumbered by public opinion,” Duskin said. “Our inner child is unencumbered. … Art, when effectively reaching out, will take us to our simplest form and allow us to develop.”

One said she’d also like to teach a similar class aimed at young people, before life interferes and takes them off course. To that end, a complementary class is planned in the future for those ages 6 to 16.

She said that in following her dream there is “nothing greater, because I’m doing what I love to do. … Everyone should have this feeling. It’s never too late to recapture that.”

Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at or 702-387-2949.