Recent graduate selected for a prestigious prize opportunity


Michaela Valli Groeblacher, Lindsborg, a recent Fort Hays State University graduate, has been selected to compete for the Zanesville, Ohio, Ceramics Arts award.

Groeblacher's piece "Kim" is in the running for the $20,000 first-place award or a piece of $10,000 in additional prize money. The awards will be announced on Oct. 10. Groeblacher is one of only 100 ceramic artists worldwide to be given the opportunity to win the 2014 Zanesville prize.

"I love the use of clay as an artistic medium" said Groeblacher. Unlike much of her other work that features the elderly in life-like detail, "Kim" depicts a middle-aged woman, pondering life.

"Modeling people has been thrilling, being that I can show them to the world and to themselves," she said.

Groeblacher has received several awards, and her art has been purchased and presented throughout the United States, Germany and in her birthplace, Austria.

Groeblacher graduated from FHSU this year with a Master of Fine Arts degree and is currently an assistant professor of art at McPherson College.

"As a former physical therapist, I never thought that I'd be a teacher," she said, "One day I was asked to teach a class for grown ups, and I had a wonderful time and fell in love with it."

Groeblacher has exhibited her art in many galleries in Kansas and throughout the United States. In the last couple of years, her work was selected to be part of the two most prestigious ceramics exhibits in the United States - the NCECA Biennial in Denver, Colo., and the San Angelo Ceramics Competition at the Museum of Fine Arts in San Angelo, Texas.

"Ever since I started graduate school at FHSU, my professional and artistic experiences have been fulfilling beyond my expectations," said Groeblacher.

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