Our annual Elevator Art Contest gives Cornell undergraduate, graduate, or professional school students the chance to showcase their creative talents, win a Cornell Store prize, and inspire others along the way!
Prompted by our 2022 theme, contestants were invited to interpret what “connection” meant to them and submit their own artwork to be featured on the elevators in both Mann and Olin Libraries (first floor). The students were also asked to describe how the art related to the proposed theme and to include a paragraph with some basic information about themselves.
The entries received were stunning and after some careful debate, we have selected our 4 winners! Learn more about these talented students and their art pieces, and don’t forget to stop by Mann and Olin Libraries so you can admire these wonderful creations by yourself!
Elizabeth Hughes ’25, College of Arts and Sciences
Elizabeth is a freshman studying Environment & Sustainability with a concentration in Environmental Biology and Applied Ecology. She is originally from Texas, but now lives in Annapolis, Maryland and will be spending this upcoming summer working on a small, organic farm in northern New Hampshire. Elizabeth currently works in a plant pathology lab on campus but is excited to expand her understanding of sustainable agriculture and soil science over the coming years.
“Grief can be an overwhelming thing to handle. The thoughts and emotions that come with it seem to span all aspects of our lives at times, knotting everything within us together. Over the past few years, I have been learning to slowly come to terms with my grief and grow from it, finally loosening and untying the knots while connecting with myself on a much deeper level than I ever have before. While the piece represents the struggles I have processed and the understanding I finally have of myself and my place within the world, I chose to depict this through symbols rather than being completely straightforward. I would like the viewer to take what they want from the piece, while at the same time coming out with a sense of the importance of understanding and connecting with oneself.”
Wenjia Zong MA ’22, College of Human Ecology
Wenjia is a graduate student in Apparel Design with research focused on body shapes, style, and fit in virtual technologies. With years of professional working experience, she is well experienced with fashion production, design, and retail management. Wenjia was born and raised in Yunnan, China, and attended California State University, Long Beach, as an undergraduate major in fashion merchandising and design.
“This photo was taken in Huntington Beach Central Park in the spring of 2021, one year from when the first pandemic hit the US. Family, friends, and colleagues have been physically separated since then. Spring is here again—just like this bee—with the sunshine and water from winter. Everything will bloom again, and he can collect pollen like in all other springs. With hope, we will get over the pandemic soon and be able to connect, reunite, and live/travel like before.”
Eddie Hew ’22, College of Arts and Sciences
Eddie Hew is a junior Information Science Major in the College of Arts and Sciences. He began studying illustration as a hobby in his freshman year and thinks everyone should try drawing more; it’s fun!
“When I hear ‘connect,’ I think of it in a relationship sense, then in a technological sense, and then finally in a natural sense, i.e., ‘connecting with nature.’ I wanted to tie all of them together, especially technology and nature. We all have a natural affinity for nature, but what about technology? Many people complain about video-conferencing and online tools, but I ultimately saw them as a showcase of human advancement in a time of crisis. I thus sought to reframe technology in a more pleasant, appealing light. I decided on the motif of the natural and the electronic, intertwining to help us unite and continue to build and grow.”
Emmy Shanahan PhD ’24, College of Arts and Sciences
Emmy Shanahan is a 4th-year PhD candidate in Classics. She is a homerist, and her dissertation is entitled “Penelope and the psychology of the marginalized.” She is a co-founder of the graduate classics organization Diversitas and has served as its president since 2019.
“Through my work in classics, I often contemplate how we as human beings are able to create communities across great distances, differences, and even time. My piece responds to the idea of connecting with another human being even after death, fostering a sense of shared belonging through recognition of one another’s humanity.”