Annie Stout, Sara Mantich, and London Heist have been named the first, second, and third place winners, respectively.
The Fine Arts Award is an annual award and collaboration between the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (OVPUE) and the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design (SOAAD). OVPUE collects student submissions and SOAAD chairs a committee of judges to select the winners.
The finalists then meet with OVPUE leadership to discuss their artistic process and to select a work of art that will be given to the university. From there, a campus art curator works with the student to frame the artwork and it is displayed in OVPUE’s main office. Each winner also receives a financial award.
This year, the winning art pieces ranged from mixed media to photography to art that, “toes the line between painting and sculpture,” as described by the artist.
Meet the winners:
Annie Stout is a returning student with senior standing at IU Bloomington pursuing a liberal studies degree. She draws inspiration from dualities, “the real and the non-real, the physical and psychological, the classical and the quantum. I enjoy learning and take notice when something ‘sparks’. I took an intro to quantum mechanics class a year ago and found so much there. . .I also recently came across the writings of Douglas Hofstadter, who happens to be a professor at IU, [about] strange loops and the recursive self.”
With her art, she hopes to elicit, “some odd feeling and then a shift, a different, not better or worse, kind of consciousness, maybe some strange dreams and new thought. All art is generative in that way. I hope that an observer who comes into contact with my work is thrown into a sort of superposition and opens to worlds of difference and possibilities and feels just a little weird for just a little while or forever maybe. I want to set a beautiful discomfort - discomfort as an essential prerequisite to any meaningful change.”
“To have been chosen for this award by a committee of artists means a lot to me. It feels like having been lost in a large space, finding some indecipherable map, and finally seeing ‘you are here’. Art undergoes so many evolutions between its conception and those branching notions of the viewers which experience it. How could I track that, or get far enough away from it – or from myself – to know how it went, or even to see if it went toward the right direction? This might be the most simple symbol of success, a solid validation for which I am grateful,” Stout said about winning the award.
Sara Mantich is a junior in the media school studying film and production with a specialization in narrative filmmaking. She also works as the Director of Photography at IU’s Season magazine. She finds inspiration from artists online on sites like Pinterest and Instagram, “whether it be a color scheme, a pose, or a make up look,” she told OVPUE.
In her photography work, Mantich hopes to, “show that there is fantasy hidden in everyday life. . . I try to create an imaginary world filled with vibrant colors and interesting characters. My goal is always to make something that is visually appealing and different, that makes the viewer smile and take their mind off of everyday struggles, even if it’s only for a second.”
For Mantich, winning the award, “confirms to myself and my supportive parents that my art can be something bigger than just some photo that was taken in my bedroom with a self-timer. To have one of my photos added to the university’s collection is a humbling offer. It makes me reflect on all the other artists that have talked through campus, and now my story is a part of this greater history.”
London Heist graduated in May 2020 with a bachelor’s of fine arts and an honors certificate in the liberal arts management program. She refers to her art interchangeably as paintings and sculptures and has made a conscious choice to scavenge discarded materials from various places after feeling, “overwhelmed by my own consumerism.”
“I think that the materials I work with in my compositions all bring their own lives and stories into the work. Being in dialogue with them as well as languages of color, shape, and form leads to some interesting narratives for me to work with in my art. I make and construct these with humility toward the process and craft of my way of working,” Heist explained.
“This award is the first piece of work I’ll have in a permanent collection that is maintained by a specialist. I think that at the end of a career, this is one of the things I’ll look back at and know was an important step in my career as an artist. Knowing that at least one thing I’ve made is in a collection and won’t be tossed out someday is a reassuring thing. I’m not precious with my work, and as the months pass I tend take apart my earlier paintings to work their parts and stories into newer, better paintings. It’s kind of nice, however, knowing that this one will avoid that fate and continue to be looked at and interacted with in it’s current form,” she concluded.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education oversees programs and initiatives in support of outstanding academic experiences for all IU Bloomington undergraduate students. It provides advising, testing, and enrichment resources for students at all stages and leads initiatives that assess, support, and improve undergraduate teaching and learning.
For more information about the OVPUE Fine Arts Awards, visit the OVPUE Fine Arts Awards page on the OVPUE website. For questions about the OVPUE Fine Arts Awards application process and deadlines, please contact Anna Donatelle at firstname.lastname@example.org and Christy Moore at email@example.com.