for his glory
by AnnaScott Cross
When she was young, Brandi Neighbors had her picture drawn by her cousin. Brandi looked up to her, and wanted to be just like her and so she picked up drawing as well, quickly falling in love with it. She attended the North Carolina School of Communication Arts and Fayetteville Technical Community College, but ended up at Pensacola Christian College in Florida studying Commercial Art. During her last semester there, she had the opportunity to co-teach an art class and loved it. She went on to get her Masters degree in Fine Arts, also at Pensacola Christian College, and had the opportunity to create a curriculum to teach photography. Growing up, she wanted to be a cartoonist, but after her experiences in the teaching world realized that she wanted to pursue a career teaching art.
Another thing that happened while she was in graduate school was meeting Angelica Gonzalez, who was working on her Masters in Music Education at Pensacola Christian College. Brandi felt the Lord telling her to start an arts school, and while she was praying about this Angelica shared with her that God was leading her in the same direction. The two worked together and moved to Lillington, North Carolina, where Brandi was born and raised, and started Eleven One Studios.
The studio is named after Hebrews 11:1, which says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Brandi had been in Florida for seven years, and so when she came back to Harnett County a lot of businesses and buildings were closed or run down. All of the changes that had happened while she was gone saddened Brandi, but one day she was driving down Highway 421 and saw the building that would become the home of Campbell University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine. This reminded her that there were many good things on the horizon that just couldn’t be seen yet, and that she just needed to have faith.
Eleven One offers a variety of classes, including visual arts and music lessons. Brandi teaches drawing, painting, and photography, but her favorite mediums are charcoal and oil paints. Her inspiration for art is, “Just wanting to serve Him.” She believes that God gives us gifts to use for His glory, and encourages her students to pursue excellence for this reason. In addition to teaching, Brandi also does event painting and teaches workshops. In the future, Brandi would like to continue to grow in her art and to grow Eleven One studios, hoping to eventually make it a fully functioning arts school with dance and theatre components.