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Opportunities at UIndy Allow Stella Griffin ‘24 (Studio Art) to Continue Their Love of Art

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Leading up to Spring Commencement, we’re asking some of our graduates to tell us about their experience as Greyhounds and what they have planned for the next step in their journey. Meet Stella Griffin, who will receive their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a minor in art history this May! 

Why did you pursue your bachelor’s in studio art?

It’s simple. I love art. I love making art and exploring art in all of its many forms. I’ve learned how to throw clay on a wheel, how to oil paint, how to create prints by hand and using a printing press, and I’ve learned how to take photos with a DSLR. I knew art had many different parts to choose from, but I didn’t know what to choose. I knew I wanted to make illustrations, but I didn’t know I could make so many different kinds. I’m so happy I chose Studio Art as my major because my ability to think outside the box and create artwork that I’m actually happy with is so much easier now.

Why did you choose to study at UIndy?

My older sister went to UIndy, so I already had an association with it. UIndy also gave me the most financial assistance for my time in college, and the location was fairly close to my family but far enough away for me to live my own life. I also really liked the art department when I took a tour of it.

Are there any faculty or staff members who have significantly impacted your time at UIndy? If so, who are they and how did they influence you?

All of them have, but I would say Katherine Fries has impacted me a lot. I got into printmaking because of her and I’ve found such a great group of people to share that passion with. I went to Wisconsin to go to Wayzgoose, which is a printmaking convention and I just kept thinking to myself, “If I hadn’t ventured out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be here right now”. Katherine has been so amazing and supportive. She’s such a great teacher and person I’m very lucky to have had her in my life.

Have you received any honors or awards (from UIndy or from outside organizations)? If so, please tell us about them!

I have! I’ve received the Indiana Fine Arts Award at the last student juried exhibition from the Art & Design Department and received $100. I was so honored and thankful for it!

During your time at UIndy, did you have the opportunity to complete an internship or earn part-/full-time employment with an organization in your field? If so, what was it and how did it help you professionally?

I’ve had a lot of different opportunities while attending UIndy. I’ve been an intern on campus with Katherine Fries, I’ve met and worked with Walter Lobyn Hamilton for another internship off campus for a class, and I did a brief internship with the Tube Factory. I also got a job at Newfields! I work there part-time as a guest experience associate. All of these experiences have helped me kind of get my foot in the door of the art world. It’s a small step toward where I want to go, but it’s a step nonetheless!

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to attend graduate school at IU Indianapolis. I was accepted into the Museum Studies program back in February, so I’ll do that for two years and play it by ear from there.

How did your degree program prepare you for your next steps?

It prepared me to tackle unexpected bumps with more confidence. I made so many mistakes and had to start over with projects sometimes. These were all unexpected. I’m more used to it now and I’m able to take those bumps on without feeling too much anxiety now.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at UIndy? 

I would say going to Wisconsin with my friends to attend Wayzgoose has been my favorite thing to come out of my time at UIndy. We had so much fun getting there and hanging out with all these amazing printers for the weekend. I’m excited to do it again this year.

What advice would you give to incoming students?

Don’t be afraid to make bad artwork and always invite your teachers to critique your work. The faculty want to help you, that’s why they do it. Shying away from critique will prevent you from growing as an artist and person. Explore your options, take a class that interests you and gain knowledge and use it in other areas in your life! It may seem useless to you, but you will pull those skills out when you need them. Make at least one friend, or try at the very least. College is very much a community-based thing. There will be groups and whatnot, make your own even if it’s just two people.