Student Features

Student-Artists Excel in Fellowship Competition

In addition to a career as working artist, Aria Hatfield ’15, one of five MCLA students to win a fellowship competition, plans to start a business that promotes and sells local art and crafts.

As winners of the Annual Berkshire Art Association Fellowship competition, artwork created by Emily Boughton ’15, Caitlin Belk ’15, Shelagh Conley ’15, Aria Hatfield ’15 and Denis Sinclair ’15 is part of an exhibition on display this month at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts.

According to their professor, Melanie Mowinski, MCLA has averaged five winners in this competition for the past six or seven years.

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“For many students this is their very first art exhibit, so that in itself is a huge celebration,” Mowinski said. “It is also an opportunity for them to meet other student artists in the county, as well as community members who support the arts. They get to learn and practice some networking skills, and experience an opening in their honor.”

“Having the success in this fellowship has been very exciting,” said Conley (right), who is from Saratoga Springs, N.Y. “It was the first time my work has been on display in a gallery, and I am just overjoyed that more people will be able see my paintings!”

With plans to become an art teacher, Conley created two abstract landscape paintings for the competition.

For Hatfield, an art major with minors in business and arts management from Worcester, Mass., this success provides an opportunity to share her watercolor and ink drawings, as well as her ideas with others artists and visitors in a new setting. 

Belk’s art is a collection of collage work. Made with magazine clippings and her drawings of horses, the pieces are full of color, contrast and dream-like backgrounds. She decided to submit the collection because of the positive feedback she received from students and professors alike.

A fine arts major from New Lebanon, N.Y., she aims for a career in the graphic design field.

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“The classes offered at MCLA have all been wonderful and helpful in developing my own unique style,” Belk said. “I really enjoy the diversity of classes offered, especially the non-required classes, such as the book-making class I’m taking right now. It’s great to be able to explore different styles, methods and kinds of art.”

Sinclair, of Pepperell, Mass., plans to work for a video game company. The art major created his original creatures during art lab time, using a regular ballpoint pen. His submitted works include one he calls “The Earth Pacifist” (pictured right). Also an art major, Boughton, of Athol, Mass., wants to become an art therapist. She created an interactive book, Figure Me Out.

On display in an interactive area of the exhibition, Boughton hopes different audiences will respond to it.

“This success marks the first formal exhibit that my work as been shown in. It was also a wonderful experience, being at the gallery on opening night and being able to watch people interact and change my work. It gave me a real sense of whether the idea behind my project was successful or not,” she explained.

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With regard to her MCLA career, Boughton (right) explained, “The fact that I am able to explore so many interests, from art to psychology, and everywhere in between, has given me a chance to make sure that I meet a number of different requirements to enter the fields I am interested in. Since I am also able to pull together knowledge from so many different areas, I am able to branch out to different career options, as well.” ​

“MCLA has given me a very well-rounded education,” Hatfield added. “I have learned how to create not only with visual art, but in many other ways, such as curating and running a gallery, building and maintaining a business, and designing and organizing events. Seeing these different aspects of the art and business world has given me more of an appreciation and respect for each one of these processes, and an understanding of what I need to continue to learn and do to succeed.”

The students’ work is on display through March 28 at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Avenue, Pittsfield, Mass.  

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