Amazing Grace

Senior Grace Frazee’s art tackles important issues


Jessica Opsahl-Ong

Grace Frazee works on her most recent art piece during class. She is using an exacto knife to cut out lines where she will later place red string.

Grace Frazee always gets ideas at the worst times. When she’s trying to do her homework, go to sleep or listen to her therapist, she’ll get artistic inspiration for another piece and have to write it down.

“I’m trying to go to sleep, and it usually takes me a long time to go to sleep, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh, oh, I just got an idea for an artistic piece,’” Frazee said. “So I’ll get up and go on my phone and write it in my notes.” 

Her ideas have evolved throughout the years.

“I used to just draw a bunch of girls all the time… And then I think in middle school, I kind of went through like an I’m-sad-cause-I’m-now-a-middle-schooler phase, you know? The thing everyone goes through,” Frazee said. “And I was like, ‘I’m gonna draw sad art,’ and now I look at that art and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m gonna throw this in the garbage’ because it’s very edgy.”

Now, her pieces deal with illness and mental health, issues that are very important to Frazee. Frazee struggles with a severe form of a chronic illness called ulcerative colitis. 

“I can’t get my inflammation under control, and I haven’t been able to for like a whole year, which is really bad for your system,” Frazee said. “So…art helps me process a little bit, you know?”

Frazee’s struggles with mental and physical illness have given her a different perspective that guides her art in a unique way.

“I think that Grace has something to say…which is pretty unusual for people our age,” said senior Liza Alieva, Frazee’s friend. “She is already going through a lot and she knows how to deal with it.”

Art has always been an important outlet for Frazee to cope with these issues.

“[Art] is very reliable and for every mental thing or anything that anyone’s going through—it doesn’t even have to be a mental illness—you need coping mechanisms to deal with the stuff that you have in your life,” Frazee said. “And art is a very good one.” Frazee sees an opportunity for art to play a similar role in other people’s lives as well.

“I want to become an art therapist. I think that art is very good at working through and understanding how your mind works and what mental things are going on,” Frazee said.

Despite the fact that art has always been a part of Frazee’s life, she hadn’t seriously considered a career in art until recently.

“I always doubted because I always heard from society and the world that no one 

cares about art; people care about STEM fields, like math and science,” Frazee said.

But her mom helped her see the more practical side of art.

“I think it’s a great career. I think art can be applied to many different settings. I’ve often told her repeatedly that, you know, anywhere you look, people want things to be beautiful, and she has the opportunity to do that in a lot of different ways,” Frazee’s mom Kristin Battista-Frazee said.

Along with pursuing a career in art therapy, Frazee will continue working on refining her own skills.

“You’re never going to stop improving,” Frazee said. “There’s always more for you to learn in art and always more for you to get better at because…not even cameras can capture what the human eye can capture.”

Frazee’s Art: 

Click on the “+” for more information about the pieces.