A Grand Valley student was selected to receive the Junior Maven Award by the “Women + the Arts” committee of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts. Previous Mavens have included Kate Pew Wolters and Linda LaFontsee.
The award was presented to Amber Stout on Wednesday, October 26, during the “Women + the Arts” luncheon. A native of Grand Rapids, Stout will graduate from Grand Valley in April 2012. She is an art and design major, with an emphasis in graphic design and a minor in nonprofit administration.
The selection committee, led by UICA staffer Jill May, is made up of local arts advocates who nominate innovative women who embody the spirit of arts advocate and generously share their creative vision and wisdom to make the community a better place. The actual award is a unique jewelry design created by a local artist. Stout’s award was created by Renee Zettle-Sterling, an associate professor in Grand Valley’s Department of Art & Design.
A statement from UICA said that the committee felt “Stout represented everything they were looking for in a Junior Maven: her long history with the ArtWorks program, first as an intern, then as a lead artist; her dedication to the Avenue for the Arts; and her continued involvement with UICA while actively pursuing a career in graphic design.” This year’s luncheon highlighted the 10th Anniversary of UICA’s ArtWorks youth job-training program, for youth interested in creative careers.
Stout first became involved with ArtWorks as an intern in the after-school program when she was a senior at Northview High School in Grand Rapids. “I was so fortunate to be selected for the printmaking group,” said Stout. “It was led by Alynn Guerra, who did this year’s Festival of the Arts poster.” They designed and printed linoleum prints and banners for their client, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, as part of an emerald ash borer public awareness campaign.
“The experience not only gave me skills, but also a bit of confidence to try out printmaking and learn new techniques in other art classes at Grand Valley,” said Stout. This past summer, Stout returned to the ArtWorks program as a lead artist to teach graphic design to her own group of 13 young students. Much of their work, following the themes of “take flight,” “soar” and “nurture,” all loosely related to the ArtWorks program, was featured at the luncheon where Stout received her award.
The Dwelling Place’s Avenue of the Arts Market has also benefited from both intern and volunteer efforts by Stout, as she managed several community events and worked to oversee the entire 2010 operations. While still a student, she has also served as an arts administration intern and led tours of exhibitions at UICA.
Stout currently works as a student web and graphics designer with the Community Research Institute in Grand Valley’s Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy. She is interested in continuing to work with community arts organizations after graduation.