May 3, 2021Graduating Architecture Student Combines Design and Entrepreneurialism for UT System Project
Our students stand out in a crowd and draw on our college’s roots to look forward to the future. And sometimes, they have an opportunity to celebrate not only our college but also the university as a whole.
Allie Ward Chamberlain, 5th-year Architecture student and small business owner of Reclaim Creative, was approached by the UT Foundation in 2020 with interest for her to create an artistic design for UT System’s “Everywhere You Look, UT” campaign. The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the university’s impact across the state.
Chamberlain believed it was important to participate in the campaign because she has a unique perspective as a local artist, architecture student and UT student.
“I hope that people are able to see that UT students, and specifically UT architecture students, are really well rounded,” said Chamberlain. “My education has connected me to the Knoxville maker community, taught me how to run a small business, encouraged my creativity and has changed my perspective on how I view the local Knoxville community. I also really hope that people can see what a special place the UT campuses are for so many, which is why creating tangible works of art that document this can be so special.”
Chamberlain, who graduates in May 2021, was commissioned to create an original watercolor painting and from that, 150 prints that include all four UT System campuses. Her role in the project was all-encompassing. Using her design skills and entrepreneurial spirit, she had full creative license on the style, formatting and layout of the project.
The prints were given as gifts to participants of the UT System’s annual Women & Philanthropy Symposium on April 29. This event was hosted by the UT Alliance of Women Philanthropists.
Not only did Chamberlain’s design capabilities as an Architecture student make her ideal for the project, but her experience as an owner of a small design-focused business also connected her with the essence of the project.
Chamberlain started her small business in May 2020 after the pandemic started. She was home and receiving an overwhelming number of requests for original works, like books and watercolors. The first thing she created was a “Knoxville Coffee” print, which sold 60 units in the first three days.
“I took this as a sign that launching my business was a great idea for me. I am a very entrepreneurial person and always have been, so it felt like the natural next step for me,” said Chamberlain.
She was inspired to call her business “Reclaim Creative” because of her passion for taking old objects, which some might consider waste, and giving them new purposes.
“I am motivated by creating and using my hands and skills to serve the people around me,” she said.