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Inspired by Inaugural Poet and visiting artist Richard Blanco’s work, Declaration of Interdependence

2022 Outstanding Artists


Visual Art Winner

"Support System"
Elena Schneider

My inspiration behind my piece “Support System” was what I felt interdependence can look like when people depend on each other in a positive way. To me, interdependence can be a person or system of people that you can always rely on to help you out, and you help them in return. This creates a new bond between people full of trust. I think it is especially important for women to support each other because so often we are made to feel like we have to compare ourselves to other women, so this piece represents the positivity that can come from lifting each other up and making a safe space for all women. This also includes making a safe space for queer and gender nonconforming people. Another thing that inspired this artwork is the lack of communication and bonding time between people during the pandemic. I personally have felt this, losing touch with friends and becoming less close, so this piece was an outlet for my hopes of the support I can give and receive in the future. I purposefully used warm colors in this piece to give it a comforting and welcoming feel, which is what a support system should feel like to me.  

Literary Art Winner

"I Think Better With My Eyes Closed"
Lauren Zhu

My mother knows this of me. Though she
believes I think, lone, in chilled
earnest. That shut eyes build dams, and
dehydrate history.

Here, in this jagged
ravine of a brain, unforgiving like valleys of

isolation, do my thoughts
ring and accumulate? Or do they echo,

rebound in the barren prism of my empty restropsections? Rebound
and repeat, against eroding rock. How they drum and churn
dry and listless, how the wind wheezes on these worn walls, beating and breathing how an atmosphere can be both ice and parched,

here the unwarm Sun is loud
and lone in the sky,
here sound rushes
like searing sand, I can think of nothing. I think nothing.

Here, I am nothing.

But I do not think lone. Because in this jagged
gorge of my mind, the walls were carved by surging rivers. I do not think lone because the grooves of my ear and the givings of my eye
carry the age of my mother. I do not think in isolation

because shut eyes build darkness like the
womb, warm primordial breath, where air does not exist, and where she forever begins and I never end. Darkness like placid Earth beneath flowing rivers, like the imprint of
wet soil along water’s edge.

Abstract Flame

Performance Art Winner

"It's Raining Out"
Meg Calos

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