Academy of Art's Johnny Carter finds balance between being an artist and an athlete

By Alexandra Assimon

Johnny Carter believes he was born to run and jump.

Some people need a lifetime to find their passion. For Academy of Art sophomore Johnny Carter, that moment happened in the fourth grade.

The native of Bakersfield, Calif., was introduced to track and field as a child by an older relative who was involved in the sport. From that point forward, running and jumping have driven Carter to push himself.

“I feel like I was blessed in track when it comes to running and jumping,” he said. “Track is me. I am a part of it. And without it, I couldn’t function because it is me.”

That passion has flourished at the Academy of Art in San Francisco, where Carter set the longest jumps recorded in Division II last year while cultivating his love for music at the same time.

When it came time to search for a college, the California Interscholastic Federation state triple jump champion was thrilled to learn that he could combine his talents while pursuing a degree.

“I chose the Academy of Art because of its majors and what they could offer me,” said Carter. “I can compete in track and make music at the same time.”

Carter loves the support the faculty gives students at the university, allowing them to explore their creativity.

Carter is majoring in music production and sound design for visual media. And he has been able to find a balance between the track and the classroom by finding what is important to him.

“I know why I am here,” Carter said. “I am here to get an education, to learn and grow while competing in track.”

The balance seems to have worked out for him. Last season, the then-freshman took home two Division II Indoor Track and Field National Championships, one in the triple jump and one in the long jump. He was then named NCAA Division II West Region Male Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

The boy who was born to run and jump has turned to an artist and athlete who hopes to one day win a gold medal at the Olympics. Living for today, letting the future unfold as it may. For now, Carter says, the Academy of Art is the right place for him.

“The Academy is invigorating,” Carter said. “It has taught me how successful I can be if I just continue to work hard.”