Kaitlyn Gesel, a graduate student in Fine Arts and candidate in the SUNY New Paltz Printmaking Program, was recently awarded a Southern Graphics Council International (SGCI) Graduate Fellowship.
“Only one of these awards is given to a graduate student and many of the competitors are from the top nationally-ranked programs in the country,” Gesel’s mentor, Assistant Professor Jill Parisi-Phillips said. “This is the first time that a SUNY New Paltz student has won the Southern Graphics International award, so it is an honor not only for Kate, but for our program, and SUNY New Paltz.”
SGCI is the largest print organization in North America and its annual conference is the biggest annual gathering focused on the field of printmaking, according to SGCInternational.org. The award includes $1,000 to complete the project that Gesel proposed in her application, a $500 travel stipend to get the SGCI conference this year in San Francisco, a membership to the organization and to the conference and a solo art exhibition at the 2015 SGCI conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“This is a highly regarded award and I am extremely honored to be the recipient,” Gesel said. “The SGCI conference is the most recognized annual printmaking conference, bringing together thousands of artists, critics, curators, faculty members, and students from all over the country and internationally.”
According to Parisi-Phillips, she said visiting Assistant Professor Sheila Goloborotko mentored Gesel through the application process, although she believed “Kate already brings a very high degree of professionalism to her artistic work and in setting and attaining short and long term career goals.”
Gesel said the application called for a proposal that outlined the project that the fellowship will be used for. It included an abstract, methodology, timeline and a budget. She also had to supply images of her previous artwork that would relate to the project she was proposing, as well as a letter written by the faculty member that nominated her.
“I work every day to be a better artist and it’s rewarding to have my hard work be recognized by an organization as prominent in the printmaking field as Southern Graphics Council International,” Gesel said. “I am proud that I was able to receive this and to be able to show others the great printmaking department we have here at SUNY New Paltz. I have learned a great deal about my work through the professors and the other students in my department and their insights have been extremely helpful to the development of my work.”
Although Gesel won’t graduate until next year, she said her plan is to continue to be an art educator.
“I look forward to this year’s SGCI conference and am already preparing for the large amount of work I will be completing for the solo exhibition next year,” Gesel said. “It will be a huge amount of planning and work, but it’s enjoyable and very exciting that I have the ability to take my ideas and make them real with the help of this fellowship.”
Parisi-Phillips said Gesel is “an exemplary student” who is completely dedicated to her work as an artist and to her studies. She is certain she will take full advantage of the fellowship.
“She will be honored at the opening ceremonies of the conference […] people will want to meet Kate to congratulate her, and she will keep in touch with many of them as she moves forward in her career,” Parisi-Phillips said. “This is quite an achievement, and we all look forward to celebrating with her again next year.”