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Rising Star Award: Alexandria Couch '12

Exterior photo of Firestone Hall at dusk
Rising Star Award: Alexandria Couch '12

Alexandria is a 2020 graduate from Myers School of Art at the University of Akron, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, drawing and printmaking, and the recipient of the 2018 High Arts Festival runner-up prize in the 2D visual arts category. She is currently pursuing a Master in Fine Arts at Yale University with a focus on painting and printmaking.

What is the inspiration for your artwork?
In my personal practice, the work is deeply inspired by the sudden shift of my own and other black experiences from margin to center. We’re existing in a moment where a price that we pay for monumental change is hypervisibility. I create figures that attempt to re-center themselves in the narrative of their own existence. I like to think that they confront viewers and question the intentions of their gaze on their moments of intimacy. 
I think a lot about this sort of contemplative suspension between familiarity, routine, assimilation and evolution.

In my more public work, I draw heavily on the idea of community and where diversity and cultures cross and connect to create something rather beautiful. I like the work to reflect the values and the strengths of the community it’s placed in so learning a lot about the history of the area or drawing from my own personal, lived history remains very important.

When did you first discover you had a special talent for art?
I’ve been drawing pretty much my whole life. My mom is an artist as well so it seemed like a natural and encouraged course to follow. I would say it's less of a talent maybe and more of just a long-term devoted passion to experimenting and making things.

Can you please tell us about a piece or project that you often think about or are especially proud of and why?
I’m particularly proud of my mural with Land Studio in Cleveland this past summer. I designed a large temporary installation for the Cleveland Public Square that was up for a few months titled “Where We Meet in the Middle” that I received a really positive reaction to. Being able to see people’s reactions to murals first hand and being able to have meaningful dialogue with the community about their lives and interpretations of the art was very fulfilling.

What impact did Old Trail have on you as a student and as a person?
Old Trail is a treasure trove of incredible resources and learning opportunities that I hadn’t had access to up until the point of my attendance. Attending OTS for just seventh and eighth grade was a bit of a culture shock but a very enriching one that definitely served as a catalyst for some of the ongoing values in my current practice. Some of the biggest take-aways are a continuous search for knowledge, service and exploration. OTS truly has some of the most amazing educators I’ve ever had the luck of crossing paths with and it’s through their constant encouragement and support that I built the confidence to pursue art as a legitimate career.

The Peter G. Wilson Rising Star Award is presented to an Old Trail alumnus who is under 30. The recipient has shown professional and community leadership and exhibited an appreciation for Old Trail School. The Award is named in honor of Peter G. Wilson, former Old Trail Headmaster. Nominees must have attended Old Trail School, contributed to their community and/or to the betterment of others, earned the respect of Old Trail alumni and exhibit a continued loyalty to Old Trail School.

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