The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Recent Graduate Wins Fulbright to Study in Germany

Miranda Holmes

“The diverse courses I took at Penn State helped me prepare for this upcoming experience,” said Miranda Holmes (’17 B.F.A. Visual Arts), who has received a Fulbright U.S. Student Award to study in Berlin during the 2017–18 academic year. She will pursue drawing and painting at the Universität der Künste (University of the Arts), in addition to participating in community service. She hopes to work in a refugee center where she could involve people in art projects, such as a mural.

“I want to learn about the contemporary Berlin art world by going to museums and galleries and making connections with the people in the arts community,” said Holmes. “I also hope to learn more about the political situation in Berlin with the influx of refugees and see how art is being influenced by the current politics, as well as how politics are influencing art. I’m excited to see how studying at a German art school will influence my art and how my thinking about art will evolve.” 

A Schreyer Honors Scholar who received a minor in French and francophone studies, Holmes said Penn State’s “amazing art faculty” have contributed the most to her growth. Her paintings and drawings present surreal worlds that poke fun at both the absurdity of human gaffes and the severity of our more cutting mistakes. In 2015, she shared first place in the Undergraduate Juried Exhibition for her painting, A Portrait of America’s Domestic Dream Land! She earned a scholarship to study abroad in Florence, Italy, and received the Brian Betzler Memorial Award for outstanding artistic and academic achievement. In 2016, Holmes was one of twenty-six college juniors accepted into the Yale Summer School of Art. She currently has an exhibition, Getting My Way and Whining About It, in the Art Alley at the HUB-Robeson Center, through September 7.

“The Penn State art faculty are intensely encouraging, generous with their time, and challenging in their classes and critiques,” Holmes said, noting she worked most closely with Brian Alfred and Helen O’Leary. “I'm so grateful for the lessons I've learned from being in the B.F.A. Painting and Drawing program—by having my own studio, I've learned the importance of a sustained work ethic in order to develop my work.”

Story by Amy Milgrub Marshall.