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Local

Award motivates, inspires Newton High School artist

Geyer's submission garners first place at Simpson contest

Newton High School senior Rachel Geyer works on a clay bust during her 3-D art class Monday morning at 
NHS. Geyer recently won an award for her photography work during an exhibition at Simpson College.
Newton High School senior Rachel Geyer works on a clay bust during her 3-D art class Monday morning at NHS. Geyer recently won an award for her photography work during an exhibition at Simpson College.

Sometimes a little push is all you need to move forward. After winning an award at the Simpson College High School Art Show, Rachel Geyer’s future in the art world looks a lot clearer.

Geyer, a senior at Newton High School, won an award for her photo ICE=NEBULA, a picture of a leaf frozen in ice. She’s been working toward a career in the arts for several years, taking home first place in the competition is just icing on the cake.

While drawing is still Geyer’s first love, she enjoys working with a variety of mediums, including photography. Geyer shot the prize-winning photo with her phone, which “just happened to be working that day” and when she got an email about the upcoming contest at Simpson she submitted the image for the contest. She wasn’t sure she’d win, and when her name was called she couldn’t believe it, until her mother, Stephanie Geyer, leaned over and said, “Rachel, go up there!”

Geyer has always been interested in art, but she didn’t start drawing seriously until her therapist suggested it as a form of therapeutic relief. As she started to focus more and more on drawing Geyer realized this was what she’d always wanted to do.

“I like it so much that it doesn’t feel like work,” Geyer said. “I feel like I’m free while I’m drawing.”

Finding inspiration in her surrounding world, Geyer loves to watch videos of artists at work. Watching their processes ignites her passion, and it made her realize that a career as a professional artist was something she could accomplish if she wanted. Geyer’s teacher Ruth DenHartog said she’s seen a number of students move into careers as professional artists over the years, and she’s thrilled to see how receptive the public has been of Geyer’s work.

“With Rachel’s awards they’ve seen a lot of creativity and technical skills, she’s putting it all together,” DenHartog said.

At the high school level, DenHartog said students are focused on mastering the concepts during class time, entering in, and winning competitions are opportunities for them to showcase their creative output.

“It’s really hard to get into the contest in the first place, winning an award is even harder,” DenHartog said.

With college on the horizon, Geyer’s looking for a school that will allow her to focus exclusively on art, she’s planning on pursuing a career in graphic arts that will allow her to utilize all of her skills. The awards she’s won have bolstered her confidence and made her feel like her art is “worth it,” motivating her to keep working harder.

“Winning those competitions boosts my self-esteem,” Geyer said. “We’re all fragile beings.”

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or ddolmage@newtondailynews.com

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