Stout has worked with the UICA’s ArtWorks program for several years. Last summer, she taught graphic design to 13 young artists, whose work was on display at the award ceremony.
“Teaching 13 younger artists was a bit intimidating at first because I had never been in the role of an instructor before,” Stout said. “It was challenging but also exciting to be the teacher and see it from that point of view.”
Stout’s ambition carries beyond a sole role as an artist. She is currently a nonprofit administration major at GVSU.
The Junior Maven award reflects Stout’s coupling of artistic talent and community involvement.
“Nonprofit administration is a great fit for me because it allows me to understand the ins and outs of what it is like to work in and run an organization,” she said.
GVSU associate professor Renee Zettle-Sterling created this year’s three-piece Junior Maven award, a hanging pendant and pair of earrings stacked in a series of domes loosely on top and around one another.
The UICA award has been designed and created by a jeweler or metalsmith four years in a row, but this is the first year the award was not a brooch.
“Young people typically do not wear brooches,” Zettle-Sterling said. “I wanted to make a piece of jewelry that Amber would want to wear on a daily basis, or at the very least pull out of the jewelry box every once in a while.”
Zettle-Sterling sought the help of her students in creating the award, asking them if the piece was something they would wear.
“I spent a couple weeks going over different design options,” she said. “Working in metal is demanding and labor intensive from start to finish.”
Zettle-Sterling commented on Stout’s positive class involvement, saying she always brought a lot to the process of making art.
“It was an honor to make the award for Amber and was so interesting to create an award for a former student,” she said.
Stout saw the award for the first time yesterday.
Stout said she remembered difficulties in Zettle-Sterling’s 3D imaging class because of her tendency to think two-dimensionally.
“I remember the best advice she gave me was to just ‘turn it’ and look at whatever I was working on from a different angle,” Stout said. “I carried this advice through to my graphic design practice by having multiple people view my work in order to receive feedback from different perspectives.”