True Colors - Ivy Stevens-Gupta '05

Ivy Stevens-Gupta ‘05

ivy stevens-gupta taken by sachin gupta

photo by Sachin Gupta

I am a huge fan of SUNY Corning Community College. Before transferring to CCC, I was not your traditional student. I had originally attended Alfred University for art and to play soccer. It took me seventeen years, while working full-time and raising two kids, to obtain my A.A.S. in Business Administration at CCC. My thinking at the time was that a degree in business was more practical than learning how to be an artist. My father had a seventh-grade education, and my mother made it to eleventh grade. I was the only one of seven siblings to finish college. Higher education was paramount to me.

CCC was an affordable choice.  Each semester I would take one course usually at night or on the weekends and work towards my degree.  When I first started at CCC, my journey was arduous. A typical week included dropping my daughter off at CCC daycare center before heading to my first part-time job at the Arnot Mall.  Around 12:15, I would drive to CCC for my English class that started at 1pm and my Economics class that ended at 3pm. After I picked up my daughter from daycare, I would drop her off at various relatives who would watch her while I worked my two other part-time jobs at night. It was a challenging time, but my education at CCC was worth it. I found CCC to be receptive to older students and I was excited to learn from experienced faculty who emphasized the practical aspects of education. I also benefited from the satellite locations that made commuting to college easier after a long day at work.

My English Literature class was a game changer. I was taught by Renee (Gross) Berry how to write poems and short stories while learning to communicate more effectively. She had a playful approach to teaching that encouraged me to find my unique writing style. This skill helped me become a better Advertising Manager at the Elmira Star-Gazette. Looking back, I would have to say that this one course propelled me to pursue a more creative life. CCC helped build a foundation for a lifetime of learning and motivated me to reach my goals.

When I left the newspaper industry in 2007, it took me only eleven months to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Marketing at SUNY Empire State College. Three years later, I earned my graduate degree in Liberal Studies with a focus on gender, media, and sports. It was during this time that I had the mental space and motivation to start painting again after a twenty-five-year hiatus. Once I picked up my paint brush, I couldn’t put it back down. In 2013, I left my job as Director for Corporate Relations and Alumni Affairs & Development at SC Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University and became a full-time artist. I received a certificate in Interior Design in 2011, became certified in color therapy in 2016, and most recently, obtained an art therapy life coach certificate in 2018. It is never too late to learn something new.

I’m still fascinated by how my career has come full circle. Most days you can find me painting in my Cayuga Heights art studio in Ithaca, NY.  I give color theory lectures for universities, conduct international color therapy art workshops, write an art and health monthly column in What’s Hot Magazine, and exhibit my paintings domestically and internationally. I would love to connect with fellow CCC alumni and hope to exhibit my art at the Atrium Gallery at Corning Community College soon. Follow my artistic journey on Instagram (, visit my website (, email ( or text (607-742-4932) to make an appointment to come to my studio.