Joan Brace Scholarship winners look forward to continuing education in the arts

Joan Brace Scholarship winners look forward to continuing education in the arts

By Meg Peters
Review Co-Editor
The late Orion Art Center co-founder Joan Brace would have been proud of the 13 high school pieces submitted, including those entitled “Fading Out,” “Skateboard Workshop” and “Around the Bend.”
After all, years after the art center became established so too was the Joan Brace Scholarship, an annual contest that awards $500 scholarships to help support youth artists.
Mark Vannocker of Lake Orion High School, Jonathan Williams of LOHS, and Alex Nuss of Oxford High School submitted the winning pieces this year, and were honored in front of family and friends at the Orion Township Public Library on Tuesday, May 10.
“The Orion Art Center’s mission includes this desire to support young artists and their work, which is essentially why something like the Joan Brace Scholarship is so important,” OAC Director Lorene Porter said.
Taking up the entire guest display case at the library, Porter was delighted to see so many fine works of art representing the community’s youth, and their journey.
“It represented, in many cases, through the lines and strokes that you see, the artists’ desire to express themselves in ways that are exciting and true. It also represented the future, this whole notion that they are now just moving forward into a world of art that they are constructing. These young people have chosen to use their artistic talent to, as one of them said, share himself with others, and that’s just a fine thing to do.”
Senior Jonathan Williams, who used colorful pastel chalk in his piece “Skateboard Workshop,” focused on “the little things around the house” as part of an 11-part series.
“I’ve always had art as one of my stronger skills. It was my junior year when I was encouraged to go with my art skills,” he said.
He will be attending the College for Creative Studies in Detroit this fall to study Entertainment Arts.
“I’m thankful for the opportunities given to the young artists from the Orion Art Center,” he said. “It was an exciting moment finding out that I won. It was the first private award I have received.”
Senior Alex Nuss of Oxford captured his winning photograph “Around the Bend” in Oregon based off what he felt was pleasing to the eye.
“My dream job is to work for National Geographic and explore the world. Not quite sure how to get there yet but I’m looking for every opportunity I can,” Nuss said.
He will be attending Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland to earn a Bachelors of Fine Art, and use his $500 scholarship towards his tuition.
The $1,500 in scholarships was donated by Lake Orion businessman Don Chadwick of the Chadwick Group, who also founded the Clark Fund which supplied the donations.
Chadwick has donated to the OAC for the past seven years, and strives to make a difference in various youth organizations in and outside of Lake Orion.
“I think that art education is somewhat ignored in the scholarship arena, and thought that was a niche to include in part of the things we do,” he said. “I’ve noticed that in comparison the Orchard Lake Art Show, and other communities, that the Joan Brace seems to have a higher quality of youth art, and I’ve been very impressed with the various medias they have exhibited.”