The Fine Arts Award is presented annually by the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education to highlight and recognize the creativity and work of undergraduate students at IU.
Multiple forms of art, such as paintings and photography, are eligible for submission and students are encouraged to apply. Winners are chosen by a selection committee and meet with OVPUE leadership to discuss their work and select a piece for inclusion in the campus art collection.
Congratulations to this year’s winners: Lydia Norton, Lee Raigner and Morijah Kahl!
First Place: Sophomore Lydia Norton
Lydia Norton is a sophomore studying both Photography in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design and Journalism in The Media School.
She took a photography class to fulfill an arts credit in high school and ultimately decided to study the practice in college from there. She was drawn to do so at IU by the faculty and classes provided by the photography department, she said.
“I have found an incredible community of artists that support and challenge one another to succeed,” Norton said.
Dance was a major part of Norton’s life as she was growing up. That led to her work focusing on ideas of womanhood, femininity, and experiences told through the human body, she said.
“I want to create an open space where audiences can learn more about and relate to the female experiences shown within my photographs,” Norton said.
In the future, Norton wants to continue working with themes of feminism, the body, and historical contexts. Aside from her work in photography, she has also developed an interest in teaching.
Second Place: Freshman Lee Raigner
Lee Raigner is a freshman studying Studio Art in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. They’ll be focusing on the painting program next spring.
Raigner first developed an interest in art at a young age before taking multiple art classes in middle school. They ultimately chose to enroll at IU due to the beauty of the Bloomington campus and already living in the state.
Their work, painted with watercolor, was based off of photography of IU’s campus. Winning a Fine Arts Award means a great deal to Raigner for the early career recognition and the scholarship funding attached, they said.
Raigner draws inspiration from nature and their identity as a queer person, they said. They’re drawn to nature by the numerous different textures available to work with and its inherent calmness they hope to share with the audience.
“Overall with my work, I just want to bring people beauty and calm,” Raigner said. “Not many of my pieces have explicit meaning but most if not all evoke a calm feeling.”
Third Place: Sophomore Morijah Kahl
Morijah Kahl is a sophomore studying Studio Art in the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. She developed an interest in art at a young age and chose to study at IU due to the programs and resources available along with the campus’ proximity to home.
Taking inspiration from Wayne Thiebaud and Norman Rockwell, Kahl captured everyday objects and scenes while telling a story. Her piece, "Garden Party," was inspired by her mother's garden.
"I wanted to depict a woman becoming engrossed in her gardening books in the preparation for her garden party, for which the piece is named after," Kahl said. "The colored portion is a display of what she is imagining."
After completing her undergraduate studies, Kahl plans to continue her education in graduate school and eventually move into freelancing.