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Art and Design Around the World with Adelynn Rabold

What do you do when you are passionate about architecture, art history, dance, and graphic design (oh, and traveling)? At Penn State, you do it all – like 2018 Architecture graduate Adelynn Rabold, who double majored in architecture and art history with minors in both architectural history and global and international studies.

By pursuing all her passions and topping it off with academic excellence, Rabold was recognized by the Stuckeman School Department of Architecture, who nominated her for the Channa and Usharani Reddy Mission Award from the Schreyer Honors College. Rabold has been a Schreyer Scholar since her freshman year. The award honors students who best exemplify the mission of the College and have excelled in and integrated all three parts of the Schreyer Honors College's mission: academic excellence, globalization, and leadership and civic engagement.

 “I’m very excited, I didn’t think I would get it. It is really exciting and awesome to get at the end of my fifth year… to know you’re rewarded for all of your hard work after five years.”

Her main interest is exemplified in her thesis. Loukas Kalisperis, professor of architecture, said her thesis criticizes the existing structure of the art world and the way in which art is consumed by the general public. “She is seeking to break the traditional barriers, both physical and social, to make art more accessible to public. Her thesis inverts the tradition of art museums as a destination and brings art to the public in their everyday life,” he explained. “She has undertaken a difficult and challenging topic for her design inquiry.”

Rabold expanded, “I think it is really interesting how there is a lot of overlap – some people go to museums because of the architecture, and maybe not the art, because it is a really great building. And there are some museum buildings that are absolutely dreadful, but they have such great art work, so people go for that reason. They are two forms of art that interact and they both can create feelings of awe. I think you can acknowledge one without diminishing the other. As the field moves forward I think there will be a lot of emphasis on museum design.”

In addition to her architectural studies, Rabold appreciated studying art history at Penn State because she had the opportunity to learn about each continent in the world through the lens of art. That lens magnified when she studied abroad in Rome during spring 2017, where she furthered her education in architecture and art history. She seized the opportunity to travel to eleven different countries and visit museums in each.

Rabold was involved in several extracurricular activities, including SEED (Students for Environmentally Enlightened Design), serving as president during her senior year. SEED designed and created a “self-sustaining” library out of a traditional 20-foot shipping container for a community in Kenya as part of the African Library Project. “It includes solar panels and batteries and is equipped with lights, so it can be placed off-the-grid in any community,” Rabold explained.

Rabold’s love of philanthropy drew her to THON, an annual 46-hour dance marathon to raise money for childhood cancer research. She served on various committees, including the entertainment committee and the merchandise committee, where she served as captain and was able to apply her skills in graphic design. She was responsible for designing all new apparel and merchandise to be sold in the THON Store. “I got to put my design skills to a good use and give back with them,” Rabold said.  This year she was responsible for maintaining THON’s brand on the public relations committee: designing graphics for social media, promotional material for events, informational brochures, and donation packets for both internal and external use by the organization.

While Rabold did not dance in THON, she was an active member of the Penn State Lyrical Line Dance Company, and choreographed a dance piece for the company’s showcase every year.

“I like to see the output of my efforts, which I think shows in everything that I do. I am very visual, so whether it’s for THON, or for the dance company, or in architecture – when I build things and design things, I am happy. At the end of the day, rather than being like ‘oh, I got an A on this exam,’ I can say, ‘this is a thing I designed,’ and I will always have lessons that I learned from designing it.” – Adelynn Rabold

When she boils it all down, Rabold has been able to pursue all her interests and hobbies during her time at Penn State: “dance, design, and art encapsulate all of my interests.” She said she is happy to use her skills to make a difference in the world. “Outside of architecture, I have found a way to ‘give back’ with my designs. I like helping out my community. I want to continue to give back and to keep learning.”

Next on her list is to start her new job where she will focus on high-end residential work.

Rabold wanted to make sure to thank the fifth-year faculty for nominating her, especially Loukas Kalisperis, who she had as studio professor her second year and this year for thesis.

Adelynn Rabold