Young artist's work captures life as a military child

By Mark Iacampo, U.S. Garrison Hohenfels Public AffairsFebruary 11, 2013

On the Move
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Lauren Sink
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Home at Last
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HOHENFELS, Germany -- Hohenfels Middle/High School senior Lauren Sink took her first art class a mere two years ago, and already has accomplished something that no one before her has .

In 2012, her art piece, "Home at Last," was selected as the poster to commemorate the Month of the Military Child. That poster appeared on military installations around the world.

This year, her "Overcoming the Challenges we Face" appears as the cover illustration for the latest edition of "On the Move," the quarterly magazine of the Military Child Education Coalition.

"(The MCEC) said to their knowledge, I'm the first person to be selected for anything of importance like that two years in a row," said Sink.

The young artist draws on her experience for inspiration and said as a military child herself, it is easy to relate to that theme.

For "Overcoming the Challenges we Face," which depicts four figures scrambling up a pyramid of packing boxes, she said she was demonstrating the challenges involved in moving a household.

Having moved nine times in the past 17 years, Sink can relate.

"The hardest part is changing schools all the time," she said. "Up through middle school , I changed schools every year. It seems like as soon as you had a friend, it was time to move again."

Lauren admitted when she submitted "Home at Last," she had never heard of the MCEC before, but had created the work as part of a school assignment.

Hohenfels art teacher Michele Mihanovich-Franz said she's been supporting MCEC's "Call for the Arts" program since she arrived here in 2009. The program is designed to provide a glimpse into the world of military children and provide the children a means to communicate pride in their parents, celebrate their military-connected lives, and acknowledge their grief and more through the arts.

"I just love that the focus is something completely unique to them as military children, and it is celebrated through this coalition," Mihanovich-Franz said.

Mihanovich-Franz said though the children are free to express their own themes, she tries to draw their attention to the positive side of military life.

"I know that some of the children have difficulty being away from their extended families and such, but I really try and get them to focus on the strengths and create their piece around that," she said.

That's just what Sink did for "Home at Last." The picture shows a quiet house with a "Welcome Home" banner stretched outside while the silhouette of a Soldier and his child embracing is visible through the window.

"One of the happiest moments for a military child is when a deployed parent comes home," said Sink, who has had to endure two, yearlong deployments of her father. "So that's what I wanted to draw about."

Lauren's portfolio contains a large variety of styles and subject matter, from landscapes to portraits, water color to chalk.

"Chalk's my favorite right now, because it's easy to blend the colors," she said. "But I like to try different things."

Mihanovich-Franz believes Sink's versatility strengthens her skill.

"She has no fear to experiment and explore with a variety of medium and technique -- her risk taking abilities in art lend to her magnificent outcomes," said Mihanovich-Franz.

Though she's not set on a career in art, Sink has applied for an art scholarship with Meredith College in her home state of North Carolina.

"I wasn't producing works like this till this year, so now I'm really starting to think about it," she said. "It's probably one of my top choices right now."