Agrella named spring 2024 Outstanding Senior

May 6, 2024.

Grayson Agrella, who spent his time at the University of Arizona breaking down barriers in the LGBTQ+ world, has been named the spring 2024 Outstanding Senior for the University of Arizona School of Art.

Agrella wrote multiple papers about LGBTQ+ rights and issues as well as political art during the AIDS epidemic. He continues this theme for his honors thesis, focusing on various types of activist engagement for transgender youths.

Senior Grayson Agrella

“Both of these were topics that felt personally relevant, and it was intellectually invigorating to incorporate the politicalized identities of queerness into my studies of visual culture,” he said.  

Triple majoring in Art history, Anthropology, and French, Agrella is a W.A. Franke Honors College student with a GPA of 3.974. He won multiple awards such as the National AP Scholar, Dean’s List with distinction, and most recently was honored with the prestigious Centennial Achievement Award

“My favorite part of art history is the moment when a piece snaps into the context of its use or creation, and it seems as though one work can speak volumes on otherwise invisible concepts,” Agrella said. 

Outside of the classroom Agrella was a Poetry and Prose editor for the Carnegiea Literary Magazine, a student based and run platform for the youth of Tucson and Southern Arizona. During his time at the University of Arizona, He has worked as an archival assistant for the Center for Creative Photography, and worked at the Department of State as an agent in the passport division. 

Additionally, Agrella was a camp counselor catered for families of gender-diverse kids and volunteered at many arts organizations, like the Sonoran Glass School. 

“Creating this kind of ‘gender-utopia’ was an unforgettable experience, and has guided my interactions with queer communities since, trying to recreate it in pieces,” he said.

Agrella said the best memories he’s made at the university are the people they’ve met along the way. 

“I’ve managed to find like-minded, intellectually- curious, kind-hearted, erratically intelligent partners in crime that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” he said. “They are the people that make seminars interesting, are always down to analyze an argument, and my trusty proof-readers.” 

Agrella was nominated by Dr. Paul Ivey, professor of art history, and Dr. Irene Romano, professor of art history and anthropology. They said he is the embodiment of the values associated with the Outstanding Senior. 

“He has demonstrated outstanding persistence and integrity in his unwavering pursuit of excellence in his academic work,” they said. 

After graduation, Agrella plans to gain work experience before earning a graduate degree. At the moment, they plan to work in community- supporting services tailored to the gender-expansive and the broader queer community.

Story by Arilynn Hyatt ’26, Arizona Arts

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