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May 12, 2020
Life At Witt

Grace Worley '20

Turning Passion For Art & Education Into Award-Winning Project

Springfield, Ohio – Most artists have an inspiration, a passion, a muse, or a hobby when it comes to creating their work for a portfolio. Senior Grace Worley, an art and education major studying to become a PK-12 art teacher in Ohio public schools, chose her students as her inspiration for a 10-piece submission she entered in the Excellence in Visual Arts (EVAs) competition through the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio (AICUO).

Founded in 1969, AICUO represents privately supported, nonprofit colleges and universities in Ohio, conducting public relations, research and government relations for its members.

Grace Worley ArtworkWorley was awarded the People’s Choice Award for receiving the most public votes on her artwork out of all the participants and her work, a series of pencil drawings, is featured on the competition’s website. View Photo Gallery of Artwork

“This body of work revolves around the inspiration I gather from the students I work with,” said Worley, from Hudson, Ohio, outside of Cleveland. Throughout her time at Wittenberg, she has been a member of the Wittenberg Art League, Operation K - Random Acts of Kindness Club, and a member of Alpha Delta Pi, serving as director of philanthropy the past few years.

“I find that students who are first being introduced to art find inspiration in some of the most simple things, but they also look to create artwork about things and moments that have brought light to their life,” she added. “I was inspired by the fact that the ideas from the students at school are sometimes very broad and mundane because they have not yet developed the inquisitive mindset of a college-level artist. As a college art student, I am tasked with thinking about my artwork and the subjects within it at a deeper level, but I wanted to take a step back and reflect on details that are often overlooked in more simple subjects.”

Within her series of drawings, Worley created abstract representations of things that literally create light by overlaying two points of view in objects such as an LED lightbulb, an illuminated clock, and a traffic light.

All of the professors in Wittenberg’s Art Department have shaped me into the artist I am today, and I am thankful for all of the opportunities that they work hard to provide for their students. Without these incredible professors, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to participate in this competition.
Grace Worley '20

“I wanted to create drawings that would cause the viewer to stop for a moment to recognize what they are looking at, which, in turn, causes the viewer to acknowledge and build an appreciation for these details that they might often overlook,” she said.

In order to enter a portfolio into the competition, a student has to be nominated by the art department at their respective college or university. Submissions had to include a 10-piece portfolio of artwork for judging.

“I was very excited to be nominated by my professors so I could have the opportunity to participate in this competition amongst other art students in Ohio,” Worley said. “I decided that I wanted to create all new artwork, and so I created 10 new drawings to enter that would all be part of a cohesive portfolio. I’m not sure what made me decide to create a new portfolio. I only had about three weeks to finish the pieces, and I was already working on my honors thesis in the midst of field experience at my student teaching placement, as well as taking studio classes, but I’m really glad I took the time to do it.

“As an artist, I like to experiment with light and shadow as much as I can,” she added. “I chose to work with a graphite pencil so I could create artwork that is full of detail, yet also allows me to include the shades of light and dark values that intrigue me. I create art to show a different perspective on things that are often overlooked and sometimes even taken advantage of. To me, my art brings life and light back into scenes and objects that can change your perspective on life itself.”

After graduation, Worley plans to teach art in a school in Ohio. She loves working with middle school students, and her ideal teaching position would be within a middle school art classroom.

“All of the professors in Wittenberg’s Art Department have shaped me into the artist I am today, and I am thankful for all of the opportunities that they work hard to provide for their students,” she said. “Without these incredible professors, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to participate in this competition. I am also endlessly appreciative of the support from my professors in the education department throughout my time at Wittenberg. Taking studio art classes and practicum at the same time can be really overwhelming, but the support and encouragement they have provided has made me hope that I can become even half as an impactful educator that they all are someday.”

May 13 Update: Wittenberg's Presidential Award, established in 2006, is given annually to a senior art student whose work represents the highest conceptual and technical achievements of the Art graduating class. The Department of Art has announced that Grace Worley is the 2020 recipient of the Presidential Award.

A single artwork made by that outstanding student is chosen by the President's office in consultation with the Art faculty to become part of Wittenberg's permanent collection. The work is displayed at the President's house or  somewhere else on campus.

Art Education At Wittenberg
Wittenberg University's Department of Art delivers comprehensive art training within a liberal arts tradition, preparing students for success in today's competitive art environment.
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Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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