Art student Sadie Ziembowicz wins $1,000 scholarship

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Art made of gold metal squares with red lip prints chained together, adorned with gold metal crosses and Playboy bunnies.

HFC student Sadie Ziembowicz didn’t expect to win the 2023 Detroit Society of Women Painters & Sculptors scholarship. She even debated whether she should apply.

In the end, with the support of HFC visual arts instructor Ashley Berry, Ziembowicz did apply and won $1,000.

“Professor Berry has been really great to work with,” said Ziembowicz, of Dearborn Heights. “She’s great at giving constructive critiques that will push your work forward. She’s super encouraging and will go above and beyond to help us succeed in and outside of the classroom. She was the one who sent me the scholarship information. She helped me photograph all my work and wrote a letter of recommendation. She has been working with me on getting my work ready to be on display at the Anton Art Center in Mt. Clemens this summer.”

“I feel pretty lucky”

The DSWPS scholarship is awarded annually to women majoring in art at an accredited college or university in the Metro Detroit area. Ziembowicz is one of two students selected for the award.

In recognition of her achievement and the $1,000 scholarship, she will be invited to a DSWPS meeting for a formal presentation and to share her artwork, which will also be featured at a future DSWPS show.

Her artwork that will be exhibited in this show is titled “Sins of the Flesh.” She called the piece a critique of purity culture and Christianity, while expressing the erotic nature and theatrical elements of religion.

“It’s pretty cool to be chosen for the scholarship,” said Ziembowicz. “I feel pretty lucky, I know it takes some level of talent, but any time I achieve anything, I always just feel more lucky than proud, especially when there are other people just as deserving as me.”

Pushing out of her comfort zone

An alumna of Annapolis High School in Dearborn Heights, Ziembowicz is studying studio art at HFC.

“I chose to attend HFC because it was financially accessible and close to my house,” she said. “They have some really great professors there.”

Once she completes her associate degree at HFC, Ziembowicz plans to transfer to Wayne State University and finish her bachelor’s degree in studio art.

“Sadie has made it a priority this year to push out of her comfort zone and explore both technical and conceptual topics within her work, including the ability to articulate these aspects to myself and her peers,” said Berry.

Always liked to create

“I think sometimes when people are in creative fields we look for the ‘lightbulb moment,’” she explained. “Something that looks like the scene from 1986’s Ferris Bueller's Day Off where Cameron (Alan Ruck) is standing in front of the famous painting by Georges Seurat, ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’, where you’re so overcome with emotion by someone else’s work and then you decide you need to dedicate your life to art. I’ve definitely found artwork so beautiful that it’s reinforced my passion, but I never had that moment – the one that makes you say, ‘I’m gonna be an artist!’ I’ve just always liked to create.”

Great example of the strength of HFC

Ziembowicz wants to work in the arts, whether it's museum work, education, art collections, or art handling. She previously worked in the education department at the Detroit Institute of Arts under DIA Associate Educator Sade Benjamin.

“That was quite a learning experience, which helped me to get a sense of different pathways in the arts,” she said. “I’m still learning. Thankfully, I have time to figure it out.”

HFC Faculty Chair of Fine and Performing Arts Steve Glazer remembers having Ziembowicz as his student.

“I’ve only had Sadie in one class, but I could tell that she had a very strong work ethic,” he said. “I see her around the hallways in the MacKenzie Fine Arts Center and she always has a great attitude about being in school. I am really proud of her for winning this scholarship, especially since the organization just recently started accepting applications from schools other than the College for Creative Studies and Wayne State. This is a great example of the strength of HFC.”