Art Graduate Receives Windgate Fellowship

From the July 2015 Desktop News | Alexandra Hval, a 2015 graduate of the Department of Art and Art History, has received a $15,000 Windgate Fellowship, one of the largest awards offered nationally to art students, from the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. Only 10 are given each year to college seniors nationwide.

Hval, who won for her work in the category of fiber/textiles, was required to make a budget and a timeline showing how she would use the money if she won.

“There are a lot of ways people could have gone about applying based on their particular areas of expertise, but I chose the route of putting most of my money towards creating a body of work over the next 18 months,” she said.

She’ll use the prize to pay for a studio, take workshops to hone her sewing and design skills and buy special textiles for projects she’s planning. Hval recognizes her good fortune.

“It’s pretty rare to be able to have the funds for a studio space, materials and travel funds straight out of college; it’s like being a professional artist-in-training,” she said.

One of the workshops she plans to attend is a weeklong sewing, quilting and embellishing workshop that will teach her skills in textile construction. Finishing the workshop will certify Hval as a sewing instructor, which she says could open up other avenues.

And she won’t take the workshop alone. Hval hopes the person who inspired her to work with textiles, her grandmother and “an incredible quilter,” Alma Lokken, will take it along with her.

“I remember discussing that workshop with my grandmother and how she said she’d take it with me if I won the fellowship,” Hval said. “Lo and behold, the craft center deemed me worthy, and my Grandma and I will indeed be sewing partners in crime!”

Hval is not sure what she’ll do after she has completed her planned training and projects, although she says “grad school seems inevitable.” But for now, she wants to focus on the unique opportunity the fellowship has offered her.

“I really want the artwork to be the focus of these next 18 months and to just make, learn and experience as much delicious art-related material as possible,” she said.

Regarding her experience at UA, Hval said, “I can’t put into words how thankful I am for the art department here at UA as well as for how supportive the faculty and professors have been to me throughout not only the Windgate Fellows application process, but my entire college career; they’re like a home away from home for me. I would not have chosen to go anywhere for a more cultivated college experience.”

Two UA BFA majors have won Windgate Fellowships in previous years, Adam Hill in 2012 and Jenny Fine in 2006.

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