NWU Junior Among 26 in the Country Selected for Yale Summer Art Program

Tim Brawner is spending his summer experiencing something that many up-and-coming artists dream of doing.

Just days after finishing his junior year at Nebraska Wesleyan, the art major headed to Norfolk, Conn., where he is attending the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Fellowship Program at Yale University.

Only a small group of highly accomplished students from across the country are accepted. Selected students are considered to be among the strongest artists in their current state of development and show the greatest curiosity about the history and making of art.

 “Many of the most important American artists working today have spent their junior year of college there,” said David Gracie, associate professor of art at Nebraska Wesleyan. “There are only 26 students accepted and Tim beat out students from some of the best art schools and universities in America and from around the world.”

While at Yale, Brawner will spend six weeks taking courses in painting, printmaking, digital photography, and drawing. He will attend workshops and seminars hosted by renowned artists including Josephine Halverson, who visited Nebraska Wesleyan this year. Halverson was quick to notice Brawner’s talent and recommended he apply to the Yale program. Brawner will have 24-hour access to a private art studio at Yale, and the program will culminate in a show of student work.

Brawner said the odds were against him in being accepted but he submitted his application, letters of recommendation and portfolio. In April he learned he was accepted.

“I was completely taken aback,” said Brawner. “I applied mostly as a lark and tried my best not to get emotionally invested in the outcome.”

Brawner works mostly in oil painting and pen, ink, and charcoal drawing. His constant source of inspiration is the human figure, specifically biological ambiguities within the human body and anxieties relating to its frailty.

Brawner said his art professors have been invaluable sources of guidance and opportunities in developing his art.

“I decided to pursue art at NWU as a result of touring the campus and meeting the professors, which was impressive enough, but I was completely pulled in after looking up their artist websites and looking at their work, which I thought was spectacular,” he said. “Nebraska Wesleyan really is a hidden gem in the Midwest for studying art. I've received attention and opportunities from my professors here that I don't believe I would have gotten at any other institution.”

Following his graduation from NWU next May, Brawner plans to attend graduate school for a MFA degree in painting. He hopes to teach someday. His undergraduate career has prepared him well for this future; Brawner is president of the Mixed Media Art Club, a member of Theta Chi Fraternity and Student Affairs Senate, an intern curator at Doc’s Place in the Lincoln Haymarket, and has conducted collaborative research with Gracie.

“It will hopefully kick-start some intense development of my current work,” Brawner said of the summer program. “I also hope to make friends and future contacts while I'm there.”

Gracie said opportunities like this are very formative and important for young artists.

“It helps their artwork develop and they get the chance to have different sets of eyes on what they are up to.”

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Tim Brawner is working alongside renowned artists this summer through his participation in the Yale Norfolk Summer Program.
"I was completely taken aback," Brawner said of being one of 26 undergraduate students in the country selected for the program.
Brawner works with pen, ink, and charcoal drawing. He plans to purse his MFA degree and eventually teach.