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News . Feature Stories . Money for the road: Cleveland Institute of Art grads receive travel scholarships


May 15, 2015

Money for the road: Cleveland Institute of Art grads receive travel scholarships

Six winners really going places, thanks to endowed awards

Six remarkable members of Cleveland Institute of Art’s Class of 2015 plan to visit parts of the world ranging from South Korea to Italy to the western United States as winners of CIA’s annual Presidents Traveling Scholarships. The unique cash awards promote new graduates’ artistic growth by allowing them to visit places of essential influence on their work, whether abroad or at home, after graduation.

Claire Marks, who majored in Printmaking, has earned the First Agnes Gund Memorial Traveling Award, CIA’s top prize, which comes with an award of $4,500. The Second and Third Agnes Gund Traveling Awards were granted to Painting major Rose Haserodt and Industrial Design major Lauren Lubell respectively. Each will also receive $4,500.

Jewelry + Metals major Alex Bitzel won the $4,000 Helen Greene Perry Traveling Scholarship, while Video major Akeem Pennicooke won the $3,500 Mary C. Page Memorial Scholarship and Painting major Zach Smolko won the $3,000 Nancy Dunn Memorial Scholarship.

“CIA’s Traveling Scholarships were endowed many years ago by generous benefactors,” explained CIA President Grafton J. Nunes. “This is a wonderful tradition that, every year, allows a very select group of CIA graduates to pursue their interests beyond Ohio.”

The Presidents Traveling Scholarships are awarded in recognition of “the quality of the proposal and the artist’s body of work as presented in their BFA Exhibition.” The 2015 winners’ art-related travel plans reflect not only the diversity of their interests, but also the breadth and depth of CIA’s curriculum.

Marks, whose Bachelor of Fine Arts exhibition was a visual and textual exploration of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, will visit museums and historic sites on the East Coast, where she will immerse herself in “the extensive archives of prints, documents, and artifacts.” She said she was “overjoyed” when she learned she had won CIA’s top graduation prize.

“This scholarship will give me the opportunity to go on a research expedition to landmarks from major events in American history. My recent work stems from a fascination with Moby-Dick and the New England whaling industry, so direct observation of whales on whale watching tours will be an important aspect of my trip. The trip will encompass visits to Nantucket, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Salem, the American Antiquarian Society, Gettysburg, Washington D.C., and Colonial Williamsburg, among many other places.”

Pennicooke plans totravel to Yongin, South Korea, to shoot a short film in collaboration with two Korean directors he discovered online. He has already written the screenplay for the film, which he intends to submit to international film festivals.

Lubell and Bitzel both plan trips to Italy. Lubell, whose focus is object and housewares design, hopes to exhibit her work at the major furniture design event in Milan. Bitzel will travel to Florence to attend a three-week goldsmithing course at Alchima, a school for contemporary jewelry design.

Smolko’s award will fund a trip to Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, and Arches National Parks in Arizona and Utah where he will photograph, sketch and paint public lands. His intention is to use these images as source material for a body of work he will exhibit, calling attention to threats to public lands.

Haserodt too will travel across the US, taking “an indirect route” that passes through 46 states to photograph and sketch extensively the people, animals, and landscapes she encounters in California, Nebraska, New Jersey and elsewhere. She too will create a body of work for exhibition.

Marks, an Akron native, is a 2011 graduate of Firestone High School. Haserodt, of North Olmsted, Ohio, graduated from North Olmsted High School in 2011. Lubell, of Sylvania, Ohio, is a 2010 graduate of Sylvanian Southview High School. Bitzel, a native of Baltimore, was home-schooled. Pennicooke, who is originally from of Montego Bay, Jamaica, graduated from Collinwood High School in Cleveland in 2011. Smolko, of Chardon, Ohio, graduated from Chardon High School in 2001.

CIA’s Traveling Scholarships represent the college’s commitment to helping students explore outside the classroom and studio, as well as within. Rare among American colleges, the scholarships are won annually by members of the CIA senior class, selected by a faculty committee through a competitive process based on applicants’ achievements in artwork and on the quality of the detailed travel-project proposal that each must submit.

CIA’s first ever Agnes Gund Scholarship was awarded in 1923 to Wilbur Peat. The three Agnes Gund scholarships were endowed by the late George Gund II, CIA board president from 1942-1966, in memory of his sister.

Above: Have scholarships will travel. CIA’s President’s Traveling Scholarship winners celebrate after receiving their awards at the Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) exhibition celebration at CIA on May 8. They are, left to right, Rose Haserodt, Lauren Lubell, Alex Bitzel, CIA President Grafton Nunes, Claire Marks, Akeem Pennicooke, and Zach Smolko.

Click here to view the list of past winners.

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CIA alumna Josette Galiano’s passion lies in exploring behavior and designing immersive experiences. Fittingly, she’s a consumer insights analyst at @NottinghamSpirk​ and a designer at Florette by Josette​.

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