The world is full of colorful, vibrant possibilities for Edina Hiser. With the whirlwind of graduation behind her, the 2015 inaugural recipient of the Claire Marie Foundation Scholarship in Arts and Design has a degree from the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts in hand and a portfolio brimming with four years of theatrical work. Los Angeles is now her home as she launches her career. It is a long way from the halls of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson Maryland where this self described “art kid” immersed herself in art classes, the school’s annual fashion show and any other creative outlet available which would allow her to tell stories in visual ways.
As a high school classmate and design collaborator of Claire Wagonhurst, Edina decided to use the scholarship award in her friend’s name to help offset the cost of college tuition at USC where she had chosen to major in Theatre Design with Costume and Scenic Design becoming the two emphasis components for her major field of study.
USC’s School of Dramatic Arts puts on an astounding twenty-two productions per year, which created the perfect environment for Edina to consistently express her many talents. During her four years, Edina served as both Assistant and Lead Costume and Assistant and Lead Scenic Designer on an extremely impressive number of theatrical productions, including well-known shows like West Side Story, Twelfth Night, Cabaret, and Spring Awakening.rst
Now that this uber talented young lady has her USC undergraduate degree in hand, she is living in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future and is currently focusing on building her artistic network and reaching out to the many contacts she accumulated throughout her time in school. She recently worked on an Emmy event for STARZ, the premium cable and satellite television network, and got some on-set experience as a costumer for an independent feature film.
As a young artist who possesses such an extensive array of talents, Edina presently finds it difficult to narrow down a singular goal or job, when asked about where she envisions herself in the coming five years. “I enjoy the thought of going down unexpected paths. I’d eventually love to work on a big feature film, but I realize that each step towards that is a goal in and of itself. I’d also be perfectly content to remain strictly working in the theatre environment.”
What she does know for certain is that she finds joy in all sorts of storytelling, a theme that weaves its way through all of her artistic endeavors. For anyone who might question why she’s willing to take a risk on a career in the arts, where success can seem so chancy and fleeting, she responds as the true artist that she is, “Doing this kind of work is hard, grueling actually. I’ve never seen people work harder than the ones I came to know and work with in the theatre over the past four years at USC. You absolutely need to have a passion for it. And I just can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”
She went on to explain, “As a person who has always been incredibly touched by the work of storytellers, I love the idea of being able to continue the tradition through my own unique lens. People look to art for answers and it brings them so much joy and meaning in times of hardship. Being able to provide even a little piece of that is a dream of mine.”
Edina has, and continues to, find inspiration for her creative work from the people she calls her mentors, both her theatre professors from USC, whom she admirably describes as gifted teaching and working professionals, and from her fellow graduates and those friends still studying at USC, many of whom she now considers to be her West Coast family.
As for her special connection to the Claire Marie Foundation, Edina is so proud and grateful to have been the first beneficiary of their Arts and Design scholarship.
“I have loved watching how the Wagonhurst family has grown this foundation over the past four years. To see their heartbreaking loss, evolve into an organization that is not only doing great work, but is so full of love and support for the entire Notre Dame Preparatory Class of 2015, and the school community, is just wonderful.”
Edina feels that the foundation’s support of the arts is one of the best uses of Claire’s name and is perfectly fitting for her lasting legacy. Claire, just like Edina, loved color and texture, and knew that those elements could bring joy to people’s lives and make the world a better and brighter place.
Keep your eye on Edina Hiser, who’s artistic storytelling may very well be coming soon to a theatre near you.