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Blair Orndorf Becomes First LVC Student to Exhibit Work at Gallery in Mt. Gretna

Art and visual culture major Blair Orndorf will be featured as part of La Cigale's emerging artist exhibit.

Art and visual culture major Blair Orndorf ’20 became the first-ever sophomore to receive the Michael P. Manubay award, an endowed honor given to an LVC student who is outstanding in studio art, when she received it in 2018. 

One year later, Orndorf continues to impress. The LVC art department faculty chose her when an opportunity arose for a student to exhibit work at The Gallery at La Cigale in nearby Mt. Gretna. 

Orndorf will display eight to 10 landscape pieces as the Emerging Artist in La Cigale’s spring exhibition. The opening reception is set for Friday, April 5, 5–8 p.m. Orndorf will be the first student from LVC to exhibit at the venue. 

She says the inspiration for these paintings came from the mountains where she grew up, as well as places she has traveled. 

“I tend to go back and forth between creating traditional style landscapes and those in the realm of abstraction,” she said in her artist statement for the exhibit. “This interplay represents the connection between the memory of being in a place and the emotional experience of a moment. My inspirations include the photographs of Ansel Adams and paintings of J. M. W. Turner.” 

Not only does she paint, but she has also challenged her abilities by working with other materials. She gives credit to her professors for their guidance in these projects. 

“Through my art classes, I've learned to work with a wide variety of media and trust my ability to execute larger projects,” she said. “I feel so grateful for the knowledge and opportunities my professors have provided me with.”

Though she continues to impress her professors with her artistic ability, art wasn’t always a part of Orndorf’s plan for college. She arrived at LVC as a neuroscience major, and it wasn’t until the end of her first year that she decided to switch to art. 

“I switched my major to pursue a concentration in art therapy because I loved psychology and also wanted a space to be creative,” she said.

Prior to LVC, Orndorf says that she had never even taken an art class. Even so, she was interested in the art program after seeing some pieces on campus, and felt that she could fit in with the campus art community. 

“The art department is full of passionate students who are all supportive of each other and professors who push you outside your comfort zone,” she said.

Now Orndorf is taking what was once a hobby and making it into a career as she pursues a concentration in art therapy. She is currently interning at the Lebanon Veterans Affairs Hospital where she has been able to see art and psychology come together. She works with a supervisor at the hospital, and together they have begun to create a six- to eight- week “Art of Recovery” program which seeks to help patients struggling from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and substance use. 

As someone passionate about how art and psychology can come together, rather than just about art itself, this experience has been incredibly meaningful for Orndorf. 

“It's been amazing to observe the various recreational therapy programs and see how they enrich the patients’ lives,” she said.