Artist laureates prepare for their debut


Gabrielle Krieger, Arts & Environment Editor

The Artist Laureate program is an initiative in the Upper School for Girls that accepts two visual artists from each grade and gives them an opportunity to make and show a collection of art. The program’s first exhibit will take place on November 14 in the downstairs Klarsch hallway. During the exhibit, the artists will each get five minutes to discuss one of their pieces.

According to Jake Guadnola, Director of The Upper School for Girls, the laureate program was created because, “USG students can’t seem to get enough of our visual art offerings — the IB course is oversubscribed and the visual art (s)Elective is our biggest.”

Over the summer, the program provided the accepted students with a $200 budget for the art materials they needed. 

Laureates also got the chance to meet with established creatives in the community. “Through conversations with local, professional artists, they gained insights into art as a career,” said Guadnola. 

One artist that laureates met with was Chandler O’Leary, an illustrator and lettering artist in the Tacoma community. They also met with and visited the studio of Melissa Weinman, a painter and art teacher that works and exhibits across the US. 

Artists also said they valued this program for the motivation and independence it inspired. One artist laureate, junior Katherine Christensen, said she appreciated the push this program gave her. “You have to pick a concept and explore it consistently and produce polished, finished products,” she said.

The artist laureates used these new materials and lessons to create four – five pieces over the summer. They each centered their collection around the exploration of a concept or medium. 

Another laureate, sophomore Emma Len, said she found her inspiration during the program. She started by focusing on simple flowers and plants. “But as time progressed, an online artist inspired me,” she said. “The latest paintings were inspired by said artist’s style.”