Annual Lear awards celebrate 'rich tapestry' of Abington student art

Painting of a cat dressed like royalty

Penn State Abington student Sierrarose Biello received the Bertha Lear Purchase Award for Best in Show for Portrait of High God Bluca, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″. A select piece of her body of work will become part of the permanent art collection at Abington.  

Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa. — Nine Penn State Abington students artists received awards this week for outstanding merit at a reception for the Bertha Lear Annual Student Art Exhibition. The show features sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics, photography, printmaking, and new media work completed in the 2023-24 academic year by students enrolled in studio art courses. 

H. John Thompson, associate teaching professor of art and director of the campus art gallery, organized the awards selection and exhibition. 

“The awards are very special for our students because they provide a much more meaningful affirmation than grades. They can be included in personal achievements when applying for graduate programs and professional positions and opportunities. Most importantly, it's great to see how much our students value the recognition of a job well done. There's always excitement at this time of year,” he said. 

Yvonne Love, program chair of the art major, said the diverse art forms represented in the exhibition represent the breadth and depth of talent on campus.   

“Witnessing the array of creative and passionate works this year fills me with pride. It's a testament to the rich tapestry of talent thriving on our campus. Our dedicated faculty nurture and guide our students, empowering them to pursue their passions and hone their craft. Their creativity knows no bounds,” she said. 

The exhibition is named for the artist Bertha Lear. Her son, Robert A. Lear, Class of 1967, and his late wife, Marilyn, funded the Bertha Lear Art Exhibition Program Endowment to honor his mother and to support art students and programs at Abington. 

The Stanley and Lois Singer Award for Excellence in Black and White Photography is made possible through the Stanley and Lois Singer Endowment for Technology in Art 

“We are fortunate to have donors like the Singers and the Lears to support our students’ work, elevating the way in which they work, and how the work is displayed,” Love said. 

These students were honored at a campus reception this week. Enjoy Lear art winners in the gallery below or see the full images here.

About Penn State Abington 

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With more than 3,100 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 25 majors, accelerated master's degrees, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics and more.