Grace Birch Named Recipient of John G. Lee Award

May 11, 2022
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication
photo of Grace Birch

Grace Birch '22, an illustration major and art history minor at the Hartford Art School, is the 2022 recipient of the John G. Lee Award.

The award is given annually to an exemplary graduating senior based on academic excellence, community service, and a permanent (home) address in one of 30 designated towns in Greater Hartford.

Birch has often stated how giving back to the community that nurtured her has always been an important personal objective.

She grew up a devoted church member and Sunday school student, and has remained both pious and true to the essential need for religious education. As a result, she took up the task on her own and has been a Sunday school teacher for the last four years.

Birch’s skill as an artist and her love of art history also inform her personal objective to help out her church in imaginative and encouraging ways. She does that by filling her Sunday school room with murals of her own design. Whether a mountainside or ocean scene, her colorful vistas are recognized as being inspirational. Her goal, both inside and outside church, is for her art to help bestow hope, peace, and love on all those who share in her work.

Birch also studied for a time in Cortona, Italy, in conjunction with the University of Georgia’s Study Abroad program, with which UHart has a long-standing relationship. While in Italy, she received the prestigious Cortona Transient Student Scholarship. Back home, she continues to serve as a teacher’s assistant. Both inside the classroom and out, Birch has been recognized for her generous and insightful critiques of the work of other artists.

“Grace produced class work at the highest level. She is an artist to watch,” comments Jeremiah Patterson, professor of foundation and Honors Program coordinator. “She has a patient and kind demeanor, and a strong work ethic that can be held up as a model to other students, and that truly represents the Hartford Art School and the University of Hartford.”