Student Star: Anna Speer 

FSU art major explores intersection of art and research

Name: Anna Speer 
Major: Studio Art 
Graduation: Spring 2025
Hometown: Wesley Chapel, Fla. 
College: College of Fine Arts

“FSU has given me the space and the support to experiment in my creative process.”

Fast Facts

  1. Through Scholarship: Lived in New York City for a month to make artwork at an undergraduate residency program
  2. Music: Played saxophone for seven years and was a part of her high school's marching band, jazz band and wind ensemble
  3. Bucket List: Ride the oldest running roller coaster in the world (Leap the Dips, located in Pennsylvania)
  4. Sports:: Played volleyball growing up, and I still sometimes play on FSU Intramural teams when I have the chance
  5. Exciting Opportunity: Had artwork shown in the Cannon Tunnel, which connects the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol

Anna Speer knew at an early age that her passion for art and drawing would guide her career path. When she came to Florida State University, Speer was equipped with the resources and community to support her artistic endeavors.

Speer’s passion for art has driven her to pursue a diverse range of commitments. As a recipient of the IDEA grant for her Honors in the Major project, Speer researched the impact of sensory deprivation floatation therapy on the creative process.

During her time on the College Leadership Council for the College of Fine Arts, she facilitated networking and career opportunities for students of all disciplines.

Speer credits Florida State for providing a strong community that will support her after graduation.

What is your major and what are you researching?

I am a studio art major in the College of Fine Arts. For my Honors in the Major and IDEA grant project, I am exploring the effects of sensory deprivation floatation therapy on the creative process and making a series of small pastel drawings and large oil paintings based on my experiences. I hope to understand how a lack of stimuli can impact how I access ideas for paintings, the content of my work and the impact of restricted environmental stimulation therapy on the creative process or flow state. Many of my ideas come during periods of boredom, so I became interested in how long periods of forced, extreme boredom could affect my ideation process. 

Why do you think it’s important to explore the intersection of the arts and research through your IDEA grant project?

Artmaking is research. Whether the research is personal, political, philosophical or technique-based, the creation of art relies on lifelong learning and continuous research. I know my artistic career will be a constant evolution of my work, both in technique and in concept, and that is artistic research. Through my IDEA grant, I explored this intersection, which led me to explore other concepts in my work. 

What does your experience at Florida State mean to you?

My experience at Florida State has been an opportunity to learn from professors who are working artists and dive into self-guided artistic research. I am incredibly thankful for FSU’s support of my artistic research through arts funding, the most recent one being the IDEA grant, and a consistent studio space. All BFA students have a studio space at the Carnaghi Arts Building that stays open 24 hours. I find myself working a lot at night, so having that space available at all hours has been a huge benefit of going to FSU. Since I’ve been at Florida State, I’ve taken leadership positions, shown artwork in exhibitions and spoken in front of large audiences. These experiences have taken me outside of my comfort zone, which is one of the most important aspects of an undergraduate education.  

How has your time at Florida State shaped your career goals?

My time at FSU has prepared me to pursue a career as a working artist through my professors and what they share about their professional and artistic practice. Pursuing art as a career can be daunting at times because of the unpredictable nature of the career path. However, my time at FSU has made me realize that there will always be a network of knowledgeable and helpful people, whether they be professors or students, willing to help each other in our careers. This community shaped my career goals by allowing me to feel supported in any endeavor, therefore helping me become more ambitious about my future.