Alumni artists utilize artistic skills from high school
Walking through the hallways of the art wing, you see an array of expertly made metal sculptures, black and white photographs, textured pottery, and much more. Some of these students grow up to create equally amazing, professional artwork for a living.
“My purpose as a figurative artist is to have people look beyond stereotypes that culture presents and search for solutions to everyday problems,” says artist Kudzai Mutasa, ‘02.
Since graduating high school, she has pursued an awarding career in artwork.
Mutasa, like many other artist alums, began her artistic career in high school, where her artwork was exhibited in the very same display cases that line the art wing today. From there, she was given the chance to train under renowned portrait artist, Richard Halstead.
After attending DePaul University in Chicago, where she received a B.A. in Marketing, Mutasa has worked throughout the Chicagoland area as a professional artist.
Throughout her career, she has displayed work around the country at events such as the National Black Fine Arts Show in New York City, in addition to helping adolescents in Chicago. However, Mutasa “believes [her] best work has yet to reach the canvas and [she] seeks daily for ways to use [her] gift for the betterment of humanity.”
Another alum, Kate Friedman, devoted over 20 years of her life to providing the Chicagoland area with award winning graphic design artwork. She began her career as the production assistant for the magazine Chicago Reader, and from there moved on to create her own firm.
She produced artwork for a variety of clients including Children’s Memorial Hospital. According to Mary Davis, former Director of Publications at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, “her style was extremely elegant, extremely intelligent, and always hit the mark perfectly.” Unfortunately, Friedman died of colon cancer at 56 years old on Feb. 10, 2012.
Audrey Niffenegger (’81) has trained as a visual artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received an MFA from Northwestern. In high school, she was a member of multiple clubs including Writer’s Showcase and the Evanstonian.
In 1978, she began making prints with the help of mentor William Wimmer, and has since exhibited works at Printworks Gallery in Chicago. She is also the author of award winning book-turned-movie, The Time Traveler’s Wife. Her first books were printed and hand bound.
Evanston’s advanced art program has provided inspiration for hundreds of students, many of which took what they learned in high school and applied it towards a professional career.