Harper College

President’s Art Selection Award recipients discover common bond

Dr. Proctor, Stella Gurevich and Anhelina Karashevska stand next to their newsly installed artworkWhen Dr. Avis Proctor selected two recipients for this year’s President’s Art Selection Award, she never expected the Harper College students to end up sharing such a deep bond.

Stella Gurevich, a Promise Scholar who graduated from Buffalo Grove High School, and Anhelina Karashevska, who immigrated to the U.S. a few years ago, met for the first time during a recent gathering to recognize the students and install their artwork outside Dr. Proctor’s office.

Stella and Anhelina quickly discovered their shared Ukrainian heritage and began connecting over their common language, customs and even visits to the same Ukrainian festivals.

“This connection was unbeknownst to me,” Dr. Proctor said. “The timing of this art selection, given everything we’re observing globally … this isn’t an accident that you’re both here.”

The President’s Art Selection Award has become a tradition at Harper, beginning in 2015 under Dr. Ken Ender. Stella and Anhelina will loan their pieces to the President’s Office for one year in exchange for a stipend.

Stella’s piece, “Merging Static,” is described as ink on board with photocopies. She said she’s always been fascinated with art that distorts reality because it’s a way to show how the soul sees as opposed to the eyes. She was inspired by psychedelic art and listened to the genre’s music while creating.

Stella plans to transfer to Northern Illinois University and pursue a degree in illustration. She currently works as a freelance digital artist and is part of Harper’s inaugural digital art and animation course.

“Art is definitely a way of bringing people together to enjoy a common subject,” Stella said. “I believe it’s a global language.”

The title of Anhelina’s artwork, “Dusha,” means soul in Ukrainian. The piece, also ink on board with photocopies, is inspired by the law of balance, she said, with one part showing “right” choices in a supposedly perfect world and the other side showing the opposite.

The first-year student hopes to eventually transfer to DePaul University and one day open her own business.

“Art is a way for me to show myself to people, and it makes me happy if someone can see a part of themselves in my work,” Anhelina said. “That means something to me.”

As Dr. Proctor and the students spoke, Professor Jason Peot installed the side-by-side pieces and reflected on the progression of the President’s Art Selection Award.

“We’ve had an installation, ceramic, charcoal and now these ink pieces, so there’s been a really nice representation over the years,” he said.

Last Updated: 3/14/24