Through Art, Grace Elmore Supports Her Well-being and Brings Joy to the Campus Community
Grace Elmore ’25 has been creating art since childhood. It’s been a huge part of her life for as long as she can remember, and recently, she has found a new subject about which she is passionate, Cornell University.
“Art has played a role in my life as a de-stresser for as long as I can remember, but I found myself losing touch with my artistic side during my freshman year simply due to a lack of time. I had some trouble re-adjusting to Ithaca life at the beginning of my third semester on campus, and decided that it was time to revisit the element of Cornell that drew me here in the first place: it's undeniable beauty.”
Grace is deeply invested and involved with campus life. She writes for the Daily Sun, she’s an active member of Best Buddies at Cornell, and she is a security intern at the Johnson Museum of Art. Grace also works for the Cornell Football team, and this summer, she was an Orientation Leader for the Class of 2026. Despite these connections, she felt the need to connect in another way.
It was a moment of realization. Grace was stressed and struggling to find happiness in Ithaca; she decided she needed to make something, and so she sat down on Libe Slope one day and sketched West Campus.
Without any intention, Grace posted her drawing to Instagram and less than 24 hours later, it was clear that Grace had hit on something special. Friends were quick to react positively, and one even suggested a specific idea for her next piece of art. That’s when Grace realized people enjoy this and maybe she should pursue it further. “It brings me joy and apparently it brings other people joy, so I started creating Cornell specific pictures and artwork,” she recalls.
As a Religious Studies and English double major, Grace spends the bulk of her time reading and writing. It’s enjoyable to her, but it’s still work and is intended for constructive criticism. Art, on the other hand, gives her an opportunity to create from scratch, whatever she wants. She states, “Not only am I still engaging with Cornell, I’m creating it how I want to, in my style, not to be critiqued, just purely for myself. It’s a really healthy balance that I think is necessary, and I didn’t realize that it was necessary until I found it again.”
“Getting to portray that and create something that reflects the beauty that made me love Cornell in the first place is really special and it makes me remember why I’m here and why I love being here.” Grace is clear that this artwork is chiefly for her own benefit and well-being, and grateful for the opportunity to bring others joy in the process. “I feel really lucky to get to share this with people and that other people get to enjoy it, too,” she says.
People commission her artwork, many of whom find her via her Instagram account. Grace sees it as humbling to have her work valued by others, and not only on-campus peers, but by parents and families and others with various relationships to Cornell, many of whom are choosing to commemorate their time on campus with her creations.
“This is such a huge place, filled with amazing people. It’s so easy to feel like you are one of many. It’s crazy to think I’m having an impact on people.” Among the favorite places she has painted are Schoellkopf Field and Uris Library, places she spends a lot of her time, but she is particularly honored to be asked to paint the Greek life houses.
“To be recognized and to have someone say, ‘I want you to depict this thing that is such a huge part of my Cornell experience’… that’s so special to have someone say, ‘I want your artwork of this place I called home for four years.’” Anyone can purchase a watercolor or photo of campus, but people are choosing Grace’s work and view of campus, and that is not lost on her.
For Grace, her artwork keeps her grounded. She concludes, “While absorbing others' appreciation for creations has been so special, my pieces started as a passion project to respark my love for Cornell, and that is what they are at their core."