Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists Comic Series

Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists Comic Series

Ringling College Illustration Students Complete INDEX Project for Smithsonian American Art Museum

Ten Ringling College of Art and Design Illustration students created a series of biographical sketches for the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) based upon the lives of ten women artists whose work is featured in the Museum’s collection. With aligned missions to inspire creativity and provide platforms for professional experience, the project was a collaboration between SAAM and Ringling College’s INDEX program. As winners of the INDEX competition, the ten students created short comics comprised of 12 to 16 frames apiece to convey the story of each of the ten women artists, some of whom may not have received the attention they deserved in their lifetimes. 

The ten winning students were chosen from the 29 Illustration students that entered the Ringling College INDEX competition. Each winning student received a $1,000 award and the opportunity to gain professional experience by working on Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists. All ten comics are viewable at https://americanart.si.edu/art/art-comics.

“This INDEX project with the Smithsonian American Art Museum has been a phenomenal career-advancing opportunity for our students,” said Ringling College of Art and Design President Dr. Larry R. Thompson. “Working to tell the stories of these important women artists has drawn upon our students’ talent, creativity and ability to work collaboratively with faculty advisors and Smithsonian American Art Museum staff, providing valuable professional experience prior to graduation. We are very impressed with, and proud of, their work.”

In creating this project, the Smithsonian American Art Museum wanted to give young people the opportunity to identify with the struggles and triumphs of ten visionaries and rule breakers, to see themselves reflected, and to draw strength from that visibility. 

The Ringling College students and the artists’ story they illustrated follow:

Student: Rachel Bivens
Artist: Edmonia Lewis
Student: Ezra Gaeta
Artist: Carmen Herrera
Student: Micaela Borovinsky Botta
Artist: Corita Kent
Student: Maddie Kneubuehl
Artist: Berenice Abbott
Student: Shayna Cohen 
Artist: Mickalene Thomas
Student: Lauren Lamb
Artist: Alma Thomas
Student: Emily Ehlen
Artist: Kay Sekimachi
Student: Abigail Rajunov
Artist: Romaine Brooks
Student: Emily Fromhage
Artist: Annie Albers
Student: Kippy Sage
Artist: Maria Oakey Dewing

The Ringling College INDEX program is an experiential education initiative that provides students the opportunity to gain industry experience prior to graduation by connecting them with leading brands and clients to develop creative solutions to business challenges. INDEX is designed to enhance the quality of student learning at Ringling College by providing professional experiences that allow students to build their portfolios, strengthen their resumés, and acquire confidence and familiarity with professional best practices.  

*Lead image illustrated by Shayna Cohen

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