February 5, 2021

Three Young Visual Artists from Ames, Cedar Rapids, and DeWitt High Schools Recognized for Outstanding Work by the University of Iowa Grant Wood Art Colony

On Sunday, March 7, the University of Iowa’s Grant Wood Art Colony will award the Grant Wood Legacy Prize to three outstanding high-school visual artists: Yuer Zhu (Ames High School), Phaedra Isbell (Prairie High School, Cedar Rapids), and Lauryn Ginter (Central High School, DeWitt).

“The Grant Wood Legacy Prize enables the University of Iowa to discover young Iowa artists to encourage their talent,” said Maura Pilcher, Grant Wood Art Colony Director.

The three prize recipients were selected from a pool of over 400 visual art entries from students across the state. Current Grant Wood Fellows Margarita Blush, Johnathan Payne, and Elena Smyrniotis selected the winners for their demonstration of a Regional voice and skill. Judges reviewed entries from Iowa students in the media categories in which Grant Wood worked: jewelry, painting, drawing and illustration, printmaking, design, ceramics and glass, and mixed media. The Grant Wood Legacy Prize is a collaboration with the Belin-Blank Center, which serves as the affiliate for the Iowa and Midwest Region-at-Large Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

The Grant Wood Art Colony established the Grant Wood Legacy Prize in 2016 in honor of Iowa’s most famous artist. Grant Wood was a lifelong-educator, from his early years teaching at Cedar Rapids’ McKinley Junior High in the 1920s to the Stone City Art Colony of the 1930s and until his death while a University of Iowa faculty member. The Grant Wood Art Colony, committed to continuing the legacy of Grant Wood, promotes Wood’s passion for education and developing young artists.

Grant Wood Legacy Prize winners and their educators will be recognized at the Annual Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ceremony (online) on March 7, 2021. Winners will receive a scholarship to the Belin-Blank Summer Art Residency in the summer of 2021.

Yuer Zhu, Living with Whiteness, 2021

Yuer Zhu, Living Among Whiteness, Design. Grade 11, Ames High School, Ames, IA. Belin-Blank Center, Affiliate; 2021 Silver Key; 2021 Grant Wood Legacy Prize.




Phaedra Isbell, Saffron, 2021

Phaedra Isbell, Saffron, Drawing & Illustration. Grade 11, Prairie High School, Cedar Rapids, IA. Belin-Blank Center, Affiliate; 2021 Gold Key; 2021 Grant Wood Legacy Prize.





Lauryn Ginter, Abstract Visions, 2021

Lauryn Ginter, Abstract Visions, Painting. Grade 12, Central High School, DeWitt, IA. Belin-Blank Center, Affiliate; 2021 Silver Key; 2021 Grant Wood Legacy Prize.