Many would say that it’s in her blood, but when you meet Xiaoji “Vanessa” Zhou, you know it’s more than that. Vanessa’s father is an artist of international stature, known particularly for his large scale oil paintings that capture detail and light in much the same way as a color photograph. Vanessa’s mother is a professor of graphic design at Wuhan University in Wuhan, China. Vanessa, an artist, scholar and leader in her own right, graduated from The White Mountain School on May 31, 2014 and, after spending the summer with her family, will be heading to Penn State University, Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Design.
Vanessa’s art offers exquisite detail, pulling the viewer into her world of color, line and light. Each piece demands a second look and, invariably stimulates both intellectual and visceral responses. Vanessa has this to say about her art and the role art plays in her life, “Art was the very first thing that I learned from this world, and it has led me to make many essential decisions in my life. My identity wouldn’t be complete without my passion for art.”
Here is a link to some of Vanessa’s AP Studio Art work at WMS. Her concentration portfolio explores iconic paintings as if they have come to life. In addition to her obvious artistic talent, Vanessa made a name for herself at WMS as one of our top scholars and as a student leader. Vanessa consistently selected a demanding course load and earned a place on Head’s List and Effort Honor Roll nearly every semester during her three year tenure at WMS. She was inducted into the National Honor Society during her sophomore year and she graduated with Honors in the Art, History, Math, Science, and Sustainability departments. At graduation, Vanessa won the Jack Cook Sustainability Prize for her excellent work in AP Environmental Science and with the Sustainability Club. Vanessa was a Proctor in Carter dorm, an International Student Mentor, and a leader on the yearbook committee. She participated in the WMS rock climbing and skiing programs, volunteered to help with the North Country Adaptive Ski Program and played Lacrosse. Teachers, coaches and dorm faculty alike valued Vanessa’s dedication to whatever task she took on as well as the excellent questions she asked, demonstrating her desire to learn and do more.
Vanessa, we will miss you here at WMS, but are proud to count you as part of our Alumane/i community and wish you well at Penn State this fall!