Art is well known for portraying the beautiful, and current Fort Hays State University graduate student Michaela Valli Groeblacher conveys the beauty of the ages. This perspective helped Groeblacher win third place and the People's Choice Award at the San Angelo Ceramic Competition in San Angelo, Texas.
Groeblacker, who hails from Austria and who first worked as a physical therapist, emigrated to America with her family in 1989. Settling in the Pacific Northwest, she was a landscape designer in Seattle, Wash., until moving to Kansas. It was in Kansas that she started ceramics and painting in earnest.
Her work concentrates on the elderly. As she puts it on her website, "The aged remind us of our own mortality and the inescapable march of time." Describing the wrinkles on the elderly as a memory map of inner personalities or noble souls, she goes on to write, "By sculpting on site in a nursing home with residents as models, I have discovered a way to put my art to work for society by recognizing, valuing and conveying an individual's life experiences."
FHSU was represented at the San Angelo Ceramic Competition by Linda Ganstrom, professor of art and design, alumni Ned Day and Jennifer Higerd, and graduate students Groeblacher, Lindsborg (67456), and Josh Novak, Omaha, Neb. (68137). The San Angelo Ceramic Competition is a premier international ceramics competition held every two years.