At the heART of what we do

At BLDD Architects, we live lives that are improved daily by the presence art. From our own work designing spaces that inspire, to the art that we experience in the environments around us — art is at the heart of what we do. And because of our appreciation for art and those who aspire to make an impact with their creativity, we developed the Because Life Deserves Design Scholarship.

The scholarship — named for BLDD’s mission “Because Life Deserves Design” — recognizes senior high school students for their creativity, artistic passion, and potential in contributing to the world of architecture, interior design, or graphic design. Several Illinois students applied, showing great talent and promise for the future of design arts by submitting a unique piece of artwork that embodied the phrase “because life deserves design,” along with a written artist’s statement and materials showing their intent to pursue a design major in their higher education plans. 

Ella Smith received this year’s top honors. Her chalk pastel and acrylic painting entitled “To Grip At Air” and stellar application made a strong impression on the jury panel, with one juror noting “Ella has worked hard to progress in her education with a great focus on community and evoking meaningfulness through art.” Another juror commented, “The emotions this piece pulls from the viewer are amazing. It takes a very brave artist to create such an honest and raw piece.” Of her artwork, Smith says, “Ultimately, my wish is to inspire those around me, help them feel less alone, and bring change as well beauty to this world that was not here before.” With her work portraying a true embodiment of BLDD’s mission, Smith was awarded a $1,500 scholarship, along with an additional $1,000 for “Best of Show” for her overall application. She plans to attend North Central College in the fall to study Art Education.

Expressionistic rendering in high-contrast color of two women embracing
“To Grip At Air” by Ella Smith of Eisenhower High School

Also from Eisenhower High School, Londarius Hayes was recognized for his extraordinary artwork and application. Londarius submitted a mixed-media piece entitled “What Lies Beneath” that caught the jury’s attention for its “interesting and though-provoking” qualities, as well as its “combination of natural and industrial elements that create tension and visual interest.” For his application, Hayes was awarded a $1,500 scholarship. He is currently studying architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mixed-media with colorful rendering of a tree juxtaposed with the black and white of cogs and machinery
“What Lies Beneath” by Londarius Hayes of Eisenhower High School

Logan Shumaker of Mt. Zion High School was the third recipient of the Because Life Deserves Design Scholarship with his oil pastel piece entitled “Vision 2020.” The panel of jurors was impressed with the artist’s timely subject matter, as well as his “great use of color and stroke variances to bring the portrait to life.” Shumaker was awarded $1,000 for his entry, and he plans to study Graphic Design at Illinois Wesleyan University this fall.

Close up rendering of a person with brown hair and blue-green eyes wearing a blue surgical mask.
“Vision 2020” by Logan Shumaker of Mt. Zion High School

“Art is what drives us as architects to get out of bed in the morning and do the work that we do,” says Todd Cyrulik, BLDD Architects Principal and Director of the K12 Design Group. “We hope this scholarship will help these young artists to continue to be all they can be and inspire the world with their art.”

To learn more about the Because Life Deserves Design Scholarship, please visit www.bldd.com/scholarshipapp. Applications for the 2022 scholarship are being accepted now through February 1, 2022.

Pictured from left to right, back row: BLDD Architects Principals John Whitlock, Carson Durham, Bruce Maxey, Steve Oliver, Todd Cyrulik and Mark Ritz; front row: Scholarship Recipients Logan Shumaker, Londarius Hayes and Ella Smith.

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