Delaney Cook ’27 Explores Art Across Disciplines

a young white woman with blonde hair wearing a green tank top

For Delaney Cook ’27, art provides an outlet for exploring the many subjects that interest her, including biology, creative writing, statistics and even forensics. 

Raised in Destin, Florida, Cook first learned about Davidson College through visiting her grandparents near Charlotte, and she decided to participate in an overnight camp on campus during her junior year of high school. While she knew she wanted to pursue art, she also loved the idea of a small school where she could immerse herself in multiple academic passions.

“I didn’t want to have to choose a single direction right away,” she said. “It was important to be able to explore as many of my interests as possible, especially since I’ll probably go to graduate school after Davidson.”

As Davidson’s fourth Malú Alvarez Visual Art Scholar, Cook often has the opportunity to attend arts shows and events at the Van Every/Smith Galleries and connect with visiting artists. While she’s primarily an acrylic painter, access to new instructors, equipment and materials has pushed her to experiment with different mediums. 

For the final project in her oil painting class this past fall, for example, Cook used a mirror to create a massive self-portrait. As a final touch, she hand-painted the frame, which stands nearly as tall as she does, incorporating elements from her creative writing class with Interim Professor and novelist Jeff Jackson.

“I like to make frames that help tell a story,” she said. “This one includes a desert landscape with ships and other motifs from a story I was working on around that time. I often feel inspired by my work in other classes, and I love to bring that into my art.”

Self portrait by Delaney Cook '27

a painting of a young woman sitting at a canvas while wearing headphones

Cook stays busy outside of academics, too. She played lacrosse throughout high school and plans to join Davidson’s women’s club lacrosse team, which reemerges this semester after more than a decade. She also participates in Ars Longa, an arts club open to students in all disciplines that hosts student exhibitions, workshops and weekly figure-drawing classes. 

“Coming into college, I was surprised by how easy it was to find friends with similar interests,” Cook said. “This year, I’m hoping to become involved with different organizations across campus and keep connecting with like-minded people.”

As her art continues to evolve, Cook plans to keep drawing inspiration from other fields. She’s especially interested in the parts that make up a whole — everything from the components of a computer to the cells and organs of the human body. Influenced by pieces she’s seen in the Galleries, she wants to tackle these themes through woodworking, statue making and sculpting, creating larger pieces using unconventional materials. 

Right now, she’s developing an idea for an interactive art exhibit: a giant wasp nest sculpture large enough for people to walk through. 

“Art doesn’t have to be confined to a certain medium,” Cook said. “If I'm researching something that fascinates me, that can open the doors to new art forms. I’m excited for where my education will take me in the next few years.”

Published

  • February 12, 2024