Annabel Smith ’23: Art for Justice

As an athlete and a lover of the arts, Annabel Smith ’23 has found transformation through her liberal arts education at Gordon. “I have learned that I am incredibly resilient. And not just in a, ‘Oh, I can handle this hard day or bad grade’ kind of way. But I am resilient because of my understanding of God’s powerful hand and spirit at work in this world and in my life.” 

Annabel has been involved in many communities at Gordon that have shown her how following God’s lead strengthens her resilience and love for others. From her time on the cross country and track and field teams to her studies in the Art Department to her time as Justice Fellow, Annabel has explored commonality across differences with Christ-like patience. “Gordon is a place for all of God’s people, and here we learn how to truly thrive and be in God’s presence. It’s here that we lift each other up in ways that help us get through the hard times.”

Annabel has never shied away from hard situations. Through an IgA Nephropathy––a kidney disease––diagnosis and a hard first year at Gordon, she continued to tackle tough questions in her studies. She sees others as images of God, and she wants to create spaces for people to be challenged and grown in their faith––especially through art. “In the visual arts you can use different mediums and different formats to engage with people across such diverse backgrounds. They can come together, bring their heritage and their experiences and reflect on the goodness of the Lord.” 

Annabel has chosen a concentration in design as a way to integrate technology in her artistic expression. “I’m curious about a technological approach to the fine arts that allows us to make something beautiful in the hard times. We live in a broken world, and I want honor God’s people through my art practice and make space for them.”

Her passion has been given a calling through an internship at the Center for Public Justice in Washington, D.C. “I didn’t know before how my skills in graphic design and passion for loving and caring for others could combine.” At the Center for Public Justice––which seeks to help communities thrive through genuine, foundational change, not through performance activism or extreme measures––Annabel used her graphic design to support their social media and marketing department.

“I felt like I was really helping people and supporting real change that could last beyond the next sensational news cycle. How we respond to these challenges matters, and I was so grateful to see how many people out there have a heart for the Lord. You can be faithful and get involved in politics. You can hold to your Christian values and bring change to our broken world. I am so excited to see where God leads me next as I use these lessons in resilience to love others in my community, across any divide.”