Source: Sherman Publications

Pursuing their dreams by displaying them

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

May 23, 2012

Some fortunate few students exit high school knowing what they want to do, be it business, sports, writing or more.

Yet those with art in their hearts had a chance to display their talents on May 9 during the Orion Art Center’s Joan Brace Scholership Award show.

The award, based on one of the founding members of the Orion Art Center, was named in her honor because of her advocacy of young artists. For over a decade, the Art Center has used the event to give away around $40,000 total to students talented enough to win the scholerships. This year, five scholerships, totaling $500 each were awarded to five students from area high schools - including two Lake Orion High School Students.

“Around a dozen kids came out this year and I think it’s great because not as many kids are going into art for practical and monetary reasons,” said Art Director Lauren Dinneweth. “I love to see these kids’ energy, I love to see their artwork and I love it because these kids have a unique perspective and they take more risks.”

Dinneweth said she liked being able to give out scholarships to kids because so often she finds teens are taught to be practical instead of creative. She also mentioned that so many other scholarships are awarded for sports and academics, that the art based award is something she is proud to give.

Two area businesses contributed to the awards this year - Oxford Bank and The Clark Fund. These two companies each donated two of the $500 awards while the Art Center accounted for the Joan Brace award which went to Stoney Creek High School Student Louiza Alaniz for a series of clay sculptures. The student plans on going into animation.

The Clark Fund scholarships went to LOHS student Andrew Schultz for photographs on phobias and Stoney Creek student Michelle Veillete. The Oxford bank awards went to Oxford High School student Heidi Aubenshine for charcoal pencil drawings and LOHS student Jazmin Biernat for her photography.

“Because not as many kids are going into art, we tend to vary our creativity and find it only years later,” said Dinneweth. “It takes a certain amount of courage to display your work and we’re happy to support that.”

The Art Center is located at 115 South Anderson Street in downtown Lake Orion. They can be reached at 248-693-4986 or online at