Although these two Juried Student Show winners come from different parts of the world, they share a common interest in one thing – their love for Crealdé School of Art.

While their journeys were unalike, Willy Lopez and Mimi McDowell found their way to Crealdé while discovering their passion for the arts. Willy Lopez grew up in Holland, but later moved to the Winter Park area in 1964. It wasn’t until 36 years later that Lopez opened the door and began to pursue art as a hobby.

“I started at Crealdé in 2000, looking to get out of the house so I began to take all the classes,” says Lopez. “I went to David Cumbie’s sculpture studio and never turned back.”

Her time as a student has aided in her discovery of her fascination within different artistic forms and eventually lead her to her signature style of art, which helped her obtain first place in the sculpture category at the 2022 Crealdé School of Art’s Annual Juried Student Show.

“I really enjoy creating fun fairytale-like scenery and art,” says Lopez. “Gnomes and interesting creatures that can only exist in your imagination are the most fun because no one is expecting it.”

In her first-place piece, A Boy’s Magic Trick Gone Wrong, Lopez presents an unimaginable reversal of roles between a magician and his rabbit. Within its design, Lopez took all the different elements she has learned at Crealdé School of Art and combined them for an all-around multi-texture work of art. From hand-sewing the fabrics to sculpting the characters, Lopez handcrafted every component.

For Mimi McDowell, art has always been a prominent figure in her life for as long as she could remember. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, and attending a theater arts school, McDowell knew that the arts would be a part of her life in one way or another. From teaching television art at an elementary school, to being an upholstery art teacher at what was then known as Wymore Tech, and even an as assistant art director, McDowell’s dynamic journey allowed her to come to a sudden revelation.

“I kept going back to teaching, but then realized that my true passion was doing art, not teaching it,” says McDowell. “I just can’t imagine my life without it.”

Soon after, McDowell came across Crealdé School of Art, which gave her the opportunity to truly zone into her creative experience. Throughout her journey, McDowell tried her hand within different forms of visual art, but later realized that her love for working with clay was unmatched.

“I enjoy working with clay because it somehow engages your hands and your mind to act as one and truly gives you the most interactive creative experience,” says McDowell.

Her dedication to her craftsmanship would lead her down the path of winning second place in the ceramics category at the 2022 Crealdé School of Art’s Annual Juried Student Show.

In her piece, McDowell presents a detailed multi-patterned animal creation with an armadillo and a bird. Within its designs, the individual style on each stroke of the armadillo’s shell and multicolored variations of green showcase the incredible talent of McDowell and her attention to the small-scale characteristics of her pieces.

Both Willy Lopez and Mimi McDowell give Crealdé School of Art credit for helping them find a home within their artistic journey.

“This school has been so good to me, says Lopez. “Crealdé gives us a great intimate atmosphere, and we are all like one big family.”

“I’ve truly found my home at Crealdé, and I’m forever grateful,” says McDowell.

To learn more about Crealdé School of Art’s Annual Juried Student Show or classes and art for everyone, visit crealde.org

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