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Awards honor range, quality and diversity of creative arts at UW-Madison

June 16, 2015 By Susannah Brooks

Photo: Kate Corby

Kate Corby, associate professor of dance and recipient of two of the evening’s awards (far left), applauds members of the Performing Ourselves after-school outreach program for their performance. Corby is co-director of the program.

Photos: Aliza Rand

The community dance outreach program Performing Ourselves involves more than 100 low-income girls at seven community centers throughout Madison. When members of the program took the stage at the Fredric March Play Circle on May 13, their lively dance celebrated more than just a good show.

The evening’s main event, the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s annual Awards in the Creative Arts, honored Performing Ourselves co-director Kate Corby, associate professor of dance, with both the Joyce J. and Gerald A. Bartell Award in the Arts and the Vilas Associate Award.

Norma Saldivar, executive director of the Arts Institute, joined Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, Dean Karl Scholz of the College of Letters & Science, Dean Soyeon Shim of the School of Human Ecology, and Dean Julie Underwood of the School of Education to recognize 21 award recipients.

The recipients of this year’s awards, presented by the Arts Institute, showcase innovative performance and research that forges links between seemingly disparate fields and cultures.

Second-year MFA student Angela Johnson, for example, works at the intersection of photography and science. By combining a mixture of bacteria and chalk paint, Johnson composes images of tiny microcosms by utilizing high-powered microscopes as cameras, documenting their evolution over days and weeks. Johnson received the Esther Taylor Graduate Fellowship.

Photo: Award winners

The Arts Institute and University Housing presented the inaugural Creative Arts Research & Service Based Awards to residents of The Studio Creative Arts & Design Community. Pictured: John Hitchcock, professor of art and faculty director of The Studio; Ashlee Thomas, The Studio house fellow; Marina Kelly, program coordinator; Mariam Coker, award recipient. (Not pictured: award recipient Luke Valmadrid.)

The inaugural Creative Arts Research & Service Based Awards, presented by the Arts Institute and University Housing, honored two residents of The Studio: Mariam Coker, a first-year student in social welfare, and Luke Valmadrid, a first-year student in the School of Music and Department of Chemistry. Both students are also members of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community’s eighth cohort.

The rest of the evening’s entertainment also celebrated connections between local and international talent. Before the ceremony, attendees listened to music from Juan de Marcos González, part of the Buena Vista Social Club, who will be the Arts Institute’s Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence for fall 2015.

Afterwards, the UW–Madison Blue Note Ensemble played jazz led by Johannes Wallmann, John and Carolyn Peterson Chair in Jazz Studies, who will be the lead faculty member during González’s residency.

Faculty awards included the following:

Mary Hark, associate professor of design studies, received the Emily Mead Baldwin Award in the Creative Arts. Her collaboration with Ghanaian artists focuses on sustainable design that considers the form and function of objects, as well as respectful collaboration with artists, designers and traditional makers. Hark also received a Vilas Associate Award from the Graduate School.

Judith Claire Mitchell, professor of English, also received the Emily Mead Baldwin Award. The award supports the writing of Mitchell’s third novel, intended to examine the marginalization of women living in the 1950s through the early 1970s and the Women’s Liberation Movement’s first steps to address such marginalization. 

Mark Hetzler, associate professor of trombone in the School of Music, received the Arts Institute Creative Arts Award. The award will go towards Hetzler’s artistic exploration and recording, producing, and/or distributing four distinct projects on the Summit Records label.

Lynda Barry, assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity and director of the Image Lab in the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, received the Edna Wiechers Arts in Wisconsin Award. The award will be used to facilitate the Comics Club, an organization encouraging students from all disciplines to use writing and drawing to tell stories in rigorous, nontraditional ways.

The ceremony also presented affiliate awards, previously announced, to faculty in the arts who received named professorships.

Kellett Mid-Career Awards went to Caroline Levine, professor and chair of English; and Pamela Potter, professor in the School of Music and Department of German.

Chris Walker, associate professor of dance, received an H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship.

Li Chiao-Ping, professor of dance, and Tom Loeser, professor of art, received Vilas Research Professorships.

In addition, Loeser was named the CR “Skip” Johnson Professor of Art, a WARF Named Professorship.

Other student awards included the following:

David and Edith Sinaiko Frank Graduate Fellowship for a Woman in the Arts: Emily L.R. Adams, design studies; Suzanne Torres, art (sculpture)

Lyman S. V. Judson and Ellen Mackechnie Judson Student Award (graduate): Felice Amato, art (ceramics); Christa Lewandowski, theatre and drama (costume design)

Chazen Museum Prize for an Outstanding MFA Student: Rory Erler Wakemup, art (glass and neon)

Porter Butts Creative Arts Award (undergraduate): Kelsey Burnham, art and art history; Hari Jost, communications arts and gender and women’s studies; Hannah Muehlbauer, School of Music