Seniors Hannah Buchanan and Abigail Downs received the first-ever Thomas Grooms Award at the Art Department ceremony on Tuesday, March 25. The award is intended to help future DePauw senior art students in the transition phase from graduation to the start of a professional career, according to Grooms, ’66. Grooms attended the event with her husband Rodger Streitmatter, who sponsored the award in Grooms’ honor.
“When I was going to university many years ago, I couldn’t have finished that last year without a scholarship. We were in a position where we could make that kind of return on investment and stimulate other people. I decided to create an award in Tom’s name because he was always talking about the art classes that [he took at DePauw]“said Streitmatter.
The awards selection committee differs from other scholarships in the department, as a professional artist works with DePauw professors to select recipients. According to Art Department Chair Meredith Brickell, “It was a really smart way to connect DePauw to the professional art world by inviting notable outside artists to review our student submissions. So I thought that was a really smart way to add depth to the price. This year’s external examiner was Josephine Halvorson, who is a painter, sculptor and graduate chair in painting at Boston University.
Both Buchanan and Downs expressed their gratitude for the award and the financial support it will provide them in their future endeavours, and their graduate plans.
“I’m planning on being an art therapist, and I personally have to pay for my graduate school myself, so this award goes a lot in that direction and I’m super excited about this opportunity,” Downs said.
Buchanan echoed Downs’ sentiments, saying, “The art world can be really daunting and expensive. i can’t thank [Grooms and Streitmatter] sufficient.”
Brickell believes that awards and honors are important to DePauw’s art program as a way to honor students and increase the program’s visibility both on campus and in the wider community, attracting finally a new generation of university students.
“As you can see in his work, he has a long history of advocacy. This new Thomas Grooms Art Prize that Roger has created in Tom’s honor will support a generation of young artists and ensure that this impact continues,” said Brickell.