DAAP grad, former Art Academy professor stabbed to death in D.C.

Published: Mar. 23, 2017 at 10:18 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 6, 2017 at 6:18 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON D.C. (FOX19) - Corrina Mehiel, a former Art Academy of Cincinnati instructor and DAAP graduate, was found fatally stabbed inside a Washington D.C. residence Tuesday.

Police were called to the 600 block of 14th Street, Northeast just after 4 p.m. Mehiel was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been stabbed multiple times.

Investigators are searching for both her car and a suspect caught by a surveillance camera in Maryland. The individual was spotted at an establishment located in the 5000 block of Garrett Avenue in Beltsville.

Mehiel drove a blue 2004 Toyota Prius with a Kentucky license plate of 722 RMY. The vehicle has a yellow bumper sticker under the license plate.

The Metropolitan Police Department's Homicide Branch reported that Mehiel was from Burnsville, North Carolina. However, the 34-year-old was born in Seattle and lived in the Cincinnati area for several years.

Mehiel received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning in 2013, according to her website.

Flavia Bastos, a professor of art education at DAAP, said she's still in denial that Mehiel is gone. She remembered her student as multi-faceted, independent and brave, and noted that she was not careless.

"She was an example of the new generation of artists who really want to put their talents and service toward creating a better world," Bastos said. "I really think she did that, and in the process, she really touched the lives of the people she came in contact with."

Bastos and Mehiel traveled together to Dusseldorf, Germany to speak about Mehiel's "Clothes Swap Cincinnati" project, which aimed to take the normally private practice of trading clothes and turn it into an event that brings the community together.

"It was probably one of my favorite conference experiences," Bastos said. "She was a really mature, sophisticated student... she was just graceful and insightful. It was just fabulous."

From 2014 until last year, Mehiel was an adjunct professor at the Art Academy teaching the classes in sculpture, art, design and social practice.

While there she directed a short film, led a community art project at the Contemporary Arts Center and partnered her class with Corrina's Art Academy with the Health Department of Cincinnati and artist Mel Chin's "Operation Paydirt" to explore how art and design can impact issues of lead contamination in Cincinnati.

Most recently, Mehiel was working with the Mel Chin Studio, which was participating in the "Fundred Reserve" at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington D.C.

In a statement released Thursday, Jennifer Spurlock, the school's director of community Education, remembered Mehiel's project planting flowers in defunct parking meters around Findlay Market.

"Her dress was as bright as her smile which was as bright as the flowers she was planting. All part of a social art project," Spurlock wrote. "That was Corrina. Her spirit, smile, social impact was a total package."

The Art Academy said Thursday it is accepting donations made in Mehiel's memory. Bastos has no doubt that her former student will be remembered.

"For a 34-year-old woman, she already has a tremendous legacy," Bastos said. "Those of us who interacted with her, who met her, who considered her a friend can find some solace in the fact that she is larger than her life."

For the UC professor, Mehiel was more than a student.

"Teachers are supposed to inspire students, but I think every now and then, a student inspires you to be the best you can be," she said. "She helped me see the world in a different way."

D.C. police are asking anyone with information about Mehiel's killing to call 202-727-9099. Anonymous information can also by texting 50411.

Cameron Knight with our news partner at the Cincinnati Enquirer contributed to this story.

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