Creating Beauty Beyond the Classroom

Grace student Emily Stichter poses with the children’s book she published this fall.

Emily Stichter is a second-year Grace College student studying visual communication design and marketing. She is guided by her passion for art, which has recently led her to an unexpected avenue for creating beauty beyond the classroom.

To Emily, art is more than creating an attractive final product. “I enjoy doing art because it’s a way I can express myself and, at the same time, use my God-given gifts and talents,” said Emily. “I get the most joy when I can help others. I use art to promote something they’re passionate about—give visual identity to something they care about.”

Emily’s ability led her to an assistant position in the Visual, Performing and Media Arts Department (VMPA) at Grace College. She serves as the art gallery assistant, helping set up and organize art exhibits. Over the summer, Emily worked with Prof. Kim M. Reiff, chair of the VMPA Department, to print an extensive exhibit catalog.

“I had the opportunity to see first-hand all that goes into creating and printing a publication,” said Emily. “I really enjoyed being part of the publishing process and knew I wanted to do more work like it in the future.”

Armed with new knowledge and her desire to tell stories through art, Emily was the perfect fit for a local internship at RedBird Art Studio at Cardinal Services in Warsaw this fall. Cardinal Services is a non-profit organization serving adults with intellectual disabilities and families with small children who have needs. Over 80 of their clients are artists in the RedBird Studio.

“I’ve had the opportunity to publish a children’s picture book featuring paintings from one of the artists at RedBird Studio,” Emily explained. “It’s been very rewarding to get to know Julie, the featured artist, and collaborate with her on the project. I’ve also learned a lot from my art professors as they’ve directed me in how to make the book better.”

The best lesson Emily has learned is not a tangible one, though. “Designing isn’t an individual process. The more input you have from other people, the better the final product will be,” she said. “Learning how to communicate with others and use their feedback is a valuable skill for any endeavor.”

Looking ahead, Emily plans to pursue a career as a branding and visual identity specialist. She wants to be someone who can put a face to a product or business. “Ultimately, I want my art to be something that directly benefits people,” Emily said. “I want to integrate design into relationships and make a positive difference in people’s lives. It’s a way to share Christ, too.”

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