A lover of outdoor spaces and peaceful places, Olivia Kiers (Col ’12) often retreats to the garden behind Pavilion I to study, write poetry, let her thoughts wander and let her eyes roam.

“It’s one of the more empty gardens,” says Kiers, a double major in French and studio art. “It’s peaceful, and it leaves my mind open to think about things.”

The garden offers a view of the University Chapel that intrigued Kiers. “I knew I had to paint it at some point.”

She drew sketches that she later used for an oil painting of the chapel, as seen through leaves beyond a serpentine wall. The piece was selected as the winner of the annual art contest sponsored by the UVA Alumni Association in collaboration with the Studio Art Department.

Kiers points to life on her parents’ farm in Staunton, Va., as the wellspring for her love of the outdoors. John and Susan (Col ’85) Kiers own and operate Ox-Eye Vineyards (“It’s named after a type of daisy,” Olivia says.).

Though winning the art contest, which carries a $500 prize, has been gratifying for Olivia, she isn’t sure which path she will follow after graduating—maybe writing poetry, maybe working in publishing, maybe going to art grad school. “My problem is that I have so many interests, and I want to follow up on them all.”

One path she won’t be following is into the family business, though that seemed a possibility when she was younger. “I was always attracted to the artistic side of it,” she says.

“But you have to know a lot of chemistry and biology to make wine. In high school, I realized I was not a science lover, so that plan changed.”