Button Menu

Seniors headed for art careers win inaugural Grooms art award

Painting by Hannah Buchanan '22 depicts Ghost Ranch scenery Hike to Kitchen Mesa, Ghost Ranch by Hannah Buchanan ’22
Discover More

Hannah Buchanan ’22 and Abigail Downs ’22 have won the inaugural Thomas B. Grooms Art Award, given to students who have “demonstrated creative vision and ideas, as well as the technical ability and skill to implement these ideas, and who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in the arts.”

Untitled earthenware clay sculpture by Abigail Downs '22 The award was created in honor of Grooms ’66, the retired director of design excellence and the arts at the U.S. General Services Administration, by his husband, Rodger Streitmatter. The competition is open to junior and senior art studio majors. Applicants submit a portfolio of their work. (Photo left: Untitled earthenware clay sculpture by Abigail Downs.) 

Grooms “set it up very smartly,” said Meredith Brickell, associate professor and chair of art and art history. “The selection committee is made up of studio art faculty and an external reviewer. This ensures that our students’ work, and DePauw more generally, are seen by nationally recognized artists each year.”

Seniors win inaugural arts award
Discover More

Hannah Buchanan (l) and Abigail Downs

Thomas Grooms '66 portrait
Discover More

Thomas Grooms ’66

This year’s external juror was Josephine Halvorson, a painter, sculptor and printmaker and professor of art and chair of graduate studies in painting at Boston University. She has been awarded numerous fellowships, including one in 2021 from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Halvorson said that Buchanan, a studio art major and art history and geology minor from Rockville, Indiana, “infuses the real world with imagination. Though her colors are not naturalistic, they belie close looking and capture the atmosphere of deep space or the emotional tenor of a room. I was particularly struck by Hannah’s fearlessness to tackle any subject, near or far, no matter how visually complex. Her ambition and sensitivity came through in equal measure.”

Halvorson said that the multidisciplinary artwork by Downs, a studio art major from Bardstown, Kentucky, “includes painting, ceramics and photography. Each piece shows a curiosity for both her medium and her subject. Indeed, it’s the variety of approaches she takes that allows a spirit of discovery to shine through. There’s a touch of humor in her work as well. Abby shows great aptitude for artistic experimentation.”

Grooms and Streitmatter visited the departmental awards ceremony Monday and were given a tour of the Visual Arts Gallery by Buchanan and Downs.

As the GSA’s director of design excellence, Grooms was responsible for selecting architect and engineering teams to design federal buildings and approving their designs. He also managed the agency’s Art in Architecture program to commission American artists to create permanent installations of contemporary art for federal buildings. He oversaw the GSA’s fine arts collection of more than 23,000 works dating from 1850 to the present.

Grooms is the author of two books: “The Majesty of Capitol Hill” and “World War II Memorial, Washington, D.C.”

Search Stories

  • Share
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Email