SPRINGFIELD, MO — There is a painting hanging in the presidents’ office at Evangel University that is a reminder of the power of encouragement.
“Ever since I could use crayons, I’ve been creating art,” said Zane Burgess, a 2015 Evangel University graduate from Anchorage, Alaska.
“A friend gave me a big box of colored pencils when I was eight, and that inspired me to keep at it,” he said. “But my parents inspired me the most, because they saw my potential.”
That potential was refined during his tenure as an art major at Evangel and culminated with Burgess being named the Outstanding Graduate in Studio Art this spring.
“Technically, I am a graphic design major, but I have taken more fine arts classes — the full range of 2-D and 3-D design, sculpting, ceramics, and more,” he said. “My teachers have inspired me to experiment and discover my own style.”
Evangel’s Barnett Fine Arts Center is home for its art students. Opened in 2002, Barnett features large studio classrooms bathed in natural light and a dedicated art gallery where student works are on public display.
The art faculty and facilities drew Burgess to Evangel, but the broad academic studies helped him grow.
“I appreciate that I didn’t just focus on what I want to do as a job, like if I had gone to an art school,” Burgess said.
“I was encouraged to take classes that made me think about other aspects of life, like how my faith is integrated into my understanding of history and politics; and my rhetoric class helped me learn to convey my thoughts better in verbal form”
Last fall, Burgess experienced encouragement like never before.
His painting of the center of campus was purchased by the student government leaders and presented as a gift to Dr. Carol Taylor on the occasion of her inauguration as president.
“I was honored to have Zane present his painting and to display it in my office,” said Dr. Taylor. “It is a daily reminder of the incredible gifts of our students and the privilege we have to invest in their lives.”