Lausanne Alumni Art League Gives New Artists Start Towards Success
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Lausanne Alumni Art League Gives New Artists Start Towards Success

In 2018, Lausanne started the Museum Without Walls program, which places works of art in public spaces throughout campus. The program creates an aesthetic dimension to campus while symbolizing Lausanne's commitment to creativity, uniqueness and student-centered learning. 

But beginning a career as an artist can be a daunting task. 

"Whether you're a freelance designer or an artist, trying to support yourself by selling your craft in today's ever-changing professional landscape can feel like an uphill battle," Upper School Design and Science Teacher and Design Department Chair Jonathan Auger said. "Achieving your first commission is a huge hurdle to overcome in any creative career. It can help jumpstart a career and potentially open the door for future commissions."

That's why the Art and Design departments added another dimension this year, creating the Lausanne Alumni Art League (LAAL). 

"The LAAL seeks to promote and support Lausanne alumni in the visual arts by providing a community that values and understands the positive impact art brings to our campus," Auger said. "Every year, the LAAL will commission an alum, who has continued to study in the visual arts, to create an original work for Lausanne's Museum Without Walls program."

The alum chosen for the inaugural LAAL commission was Madeline Smith '19, a graduate of Lausanne's International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme currently pursuing a career in art.

"At Lausanne, I knew I wanted to become an artist, and I wasn't sure if going through the IB was necessary," she shared. "But my parents and Dr. Campbell gave me the confidence to go for it." It was a decision that paid off. After graduating in 2019, Madeline went to Ringling College of Art and Design, ranked as one of the top animation schools in the United States. She received their Presidential Scholarship based on the strength of her academics at Lausanne. But when COVID-19 made her decide to take a gap year, she used the time to reconsider her choice for college.

"I realized I was much more interested in my graphic design classes," remembers Madeline. "While I had a great experience at Ringling, I needed to make a change." After researching top design schools worldwide, Madeline began applying to schools in Europe, many of which required an International Baccalaureate diploma to be considered for acceptance.

"The top schools in Europe didn't just want to see your art to apply: they wanted to know your process. Ms. Manzo's and Mr. Auger's IB classes made you document the process for your pieces of art, so it was easy to repurpose the work I did in Upper School for those applications."

The process worked, and Madeline was accepted to every school she applied to, including the University of the Arts London, one of the top schools for Graphic Design in the world. After evaluating the different acceptances, Madeline chose Kingston University outside of London, where she will graduate in 2023. She hopes to become a prop designer in the future. This summer, the 20-year-old is deciding between internships with different film production art departments in Los Angeles, Atlanta and Scotland.

"Mr. Auger's class really opened my eyes to design, and I've gotten hooked on the construction of physical pieces," said Madeline. "I'm so thankful for my time at Lausanne and all of the opportunities that I've been given because of it."

Madeline's father, Drew Smith, a member of Lausanne's staff, echoes the sentiment.

"Madeline wouldn't have been able to attend Lausanne if it weren't for the school's tuition remission program, funded by donations to the school's Annual Fund," he shares. "I know the difference Lausanne has made in not only her life, but her younger brothers' lives, too. Our family will always be grateful to Lausanne for it."

Madeline Smith's "nachbarschaft" is currently on display in the Blue Heron Café.

You can help students like Madeline have the life-changing experience of attending Lausanne and to expand Lausanne's LAAL by donating to the Lausanne Community Fund with your gift designated to the Arts. Learn more at

Posted by Drew Smith at 09:01