I began this fellowship in December of 2019 by speaking with its coordinator, Dr. Brett Say, about troubleshooting problems that I had been dealing with for months. The project to be completed for the fellowship, the Campus Energy Constellation, required grant money, data from Pitt Facilities Management, and Gallery Space; three things I had recently been struggling to obtain. I selected the Creative Arts Fellowship as the incubator for this project because I knew it was geared towards providing students with these types of resources, and it turned out to be a good decision. By the Summer I had a comfortable budget, all of the data I needed, and a few prospective exhibition spaces (with massive thanks to Dr. Say.)
What I did not expect from the Creative Arts Fellowship was perhaps what it was actually most geared towards doing: providing a cohort of students with a space to receive valuable feedback on their work. I went into the program with the concept for my project completely solidified, whereas the other two fellows, Clara and Sophie, had open minds about where they wanted their projects to go. This resulted in me reconsidering many aspects of the project, and thus performing exercises that refined my concept and plans of action. My installation requires an enclosure that does not allow any light to permeate from its surroundings; the group suggested that I construct a mock enclosure from cardboard to explore dimensions and spatial qualities of the structure. Through this process I settled on an enclosure design that I feel much more confident about.
This type of experience is what was most valuable to me during this fellowship. Whereas before I was comfortable functioning as an artist with a relatively non-collaborative practice, I leave the program understanding the importance of critique, peer review, and co-development. While the Creative Arts Fellowship is also capable of providing logistical support, which was what I was most concerned with upon application, it’s true strength is in the human resources it can provide. I would like to sincerely thank Brett, Clara and Sophie for their support.
As the fellowship comes to a close, I am also wrapping up numerous other projects I have been working on concurrently in preparation for documentation and application to graduate school. I am applying for a Masters in Architecture; the Campus Energy Constellation will certainly be a part of my portfolio.