Sturgeon Bay Art Student Earns Wealth of Scholarship Offers

Sturgeon Bay senior and accomplished artist Claire Tellstrom has been offered multiple merit scholarships ranging from $76,000 to $116,000 over the course of four years from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, the Kansas City Art Institute and the Maryland Institute College of Art. 

Upon weighing her options, she has chosen to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD), with grants and scholarships totaling $102,000.

Tellstrom plans to major in new studio practice and focus mainly on painting. She would also like to expand her artistic knowledge in painting, illustration, art history and possibly design.

“Karma” by Claire Tellstrom.

“I am beyond grateful for all the scholarship amounts I have received and cannot thank those colleges enough,” she said. “These scholarships have made receiving a specialized education in a field I love possible.”

Tellstrom has expressed interest in art ever since she was a young child. She always knew she loved art, but she did not truly begin to focus on it until high school. At the beginning of her freshman year, she established herself in a wide variety of art classes that concentrated mainly on painting and printmaking. She was chosen to begin a pre-AP portfolio course as a sophomore and take AP Drawing as a junior and AP 2D as a senior. 

Last summer, Tellstrom also participated in MIAD’s advanced pre-college program, a three-week intensive course. 

Although she enjoys painting the most, she said she is always experimenting and creating in different media such as tapestry art, felt painting, printmaking and even some pottery. 

Tellstrom’s work focuses on portraits, and she’s constantly attempting to create as much realism as possible. 

“I try to convey emotions through the application of the paint as well as the use of color,” she said. “I want the viewer to connect with whoever or whatever I am portraying and to be able to relate to the emotion being expressed.”

Inspiration for Tellstrom’s art comes from her relationships with herself and her friends. 

“I love capturing joyful moments spent with friends as well as capturing my own feelings,” she said. “Many of my paintings are personal, and I think of them as self-reflection or a way of capturing events that have led me to my self-actualization.”

Tellstrom owes much of her success as a young artist to the county in which she grew up.

“At a young age, I was inspired by the shows presented at the Miller Art Museum, especially the Annual Salon of Door County High School Art,” she said. “It has been an honor to have multiple pieces of my artwork displayed at the same show that once inspired me.”

Tellstrom’s art has been featured in many Door County exhibits, including the Women’s Fund of Door County’s show of women’s art in 2019 and Love on Holiday in 2020, during which songwriters took inspiration from her art piece to create three songs and perform them in concert.

“Friends” by Claire Tellstrom.

Throughout high school, Tellstrom has managed her extensive involvement in art with running cross-country, playing on the soccer team and managing the boys soccer team in the fall. 

“Juggling my time between sports and art,” she said, “I kept my grade point high and was invited to be a part of the National Honor Society and will be graduating with honors.”

In the summertime, Tellstrom spends her time volunteering and has been involved with multiple mission trips with the Sturgeon Bay Moravian Church.

After receiving her BFA from MIAD, she plans to pursue an MFA in art and then become a painting professor and practice painting on the side. 

“I believe it is important to teach and equip young aspiring artists with an extensive education, and as a professor, I plan to do exactly that,” she said. “I also hope to exhibit my art and impact the world by sharing my painting with the public.”To see and learn more about Tellstrom’s work, visit