Graue’s artwork brings message of Hope to walls of Westbrook practice rooms


Over the Summer of 2020, with COVID-19 leaving all of us in search of Hope, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Glenn Korff School of Music Sophomore Music Education Major Melissa Graue returned to her childhood hobby of painting since she had a lot of indoor, spare time on her hands.

“It didn't matter if I was good or not; it was a fun, calming, creative hobby I enjoyed,” Graue said. “And I knew that I had no use to keep all of my paintings for they would just take up space, so I was planning on giving them away to friends.”

But Graue then had another idea. She contacted Director of the Glenn Korff School of Music Sergio Ruiz to see if she could donate them to the GKSOM. Ruiz agreed, so she dropped them off with facility manager Dayana Corredor, and then GKSOM student monitors but them up in practice rooms on the third floor of the Westbrook Music Building.

“I decided to give them to Westbrook because I thought about how much time myself and other students spend in the practice rooms, and how no one likes the windowless rooms because they feel trapped and isolated as they are surrounded by only tan walls with maybe a piano or stand,” she said. “Music can be a stressful major as well, so I wanted to cheer up these rooms and spread some encouragement to students too. I had a similar idea last year when I, with the help of some friends, put tissue boxes with encouraging sticky notes in all the practice rooms.

“Since I was already painting over the summer, I thought this would be a great opportunity to do this again with my art.”

There are nearly 10 of Graue’s paintings that are posted on the walls. Each of them also includes an inspiring quote.

“I mostly found the quotes through Pinterest honestly,” she said. “I've always been a huge fan of quotes, so I've saved a lot from that app as I search through my favorites. That's why all my paintings have quotes on them; I've searched, saved, and written down quotes for years that painting them was a natural and unique style for me to try.”

“I haven't really heard about a lot of reaction towards them, but that's okay. I didn't donate them for money or fame; I just wanted to share some positivity and encouragement with students. So even if I don't hear about it, I have a hope that they are helping.”