Awarding Stellar Student Art

May 10, 2018

Lauren Swintek stands in front of her animated short, Celestial Bodies.The stunning accomplishments of student artists—from animators to sculptors, from painters to photographers—were celebrated at the annual Student Art Exhibition.

Every year, students submit work that they have created during the academic year to the juried art exhibition, which includes three cash prizes. First place went to Lauren Swintek ’20 and her impressive animated short, Celestial Bodies, in which an astronaut crash-lands on the Tree of Life, befriends a cat, and together they embark on an adventure.

“It’s incredibly silly, but my hope was that the images were impressive enough to kind of elevate it,” Swintek said. Winning the top prize felt “really gratifying,” added Swintek, who spent two months on the video.

Second place went to Janel Gonzalez ’18 for a large black-and-white drawing of two nude figures, The Unknown. Third place went to Andy Bertelsen ’18 for his photograph, Ethno-Wrapped.

Emilie Hotz’s ’18 Madonna and Child series—seven small, colorfully compact paintings—won both honorable mention and the Presidential Purchase Prize, in which President Sharon Herzberger personally buys a piece to display on campus. In the series, Hotz juxtaposes mundane moments from modern life, like shopping for groceries or eating ice cream, with the divine narrative of Mary and a young Jesus Christ to show that the divine lives in us all; that the world is simultaneously insignificant yet sacred.

Three of Hotz’s paintings from the series will be displayed on campus, adding to a growing collection of student work that becomes a permanent part of the College. Past winners of the prize can be found in Wardman Library and the Science & Learning Center.

The majority of the Student Art Exhibition pieces, including the three cash-prize winners, will remain on display through the end of the semester in the Wardman Art Center. Others, including Hotz’s paintings, are showcased in the Greenleaf Art Gallery.