Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Fellowship aids graduating Alabama art majors

The infamous image of the “starving artist,” surrendering all cares to pursue and finance their art, is a persona to which most artists can relate. But every other year for a group of graduating art majors, a chance to have their artistic dreams freely funded presents itself through the Windgate Fellowship.

“We all know how hard it can be as a college student trying to pay for school, books and supplies – and art supplies are not cheap,” Kristen Tcherneshoff, a senior majoring in photography and painting, said. “So this was a great opportunity to put into fruition an idea that might not have been possible before.”

Tcherneshoff is one of 10 students selected by faculty members of the art and art history departments at the University to receive the fellowship, which funds pieces for a special Windgate exhibit, held in the Sarah Moody Gallery. The honorees were picked to be the representatives of the Windgate Fellowship program and the art departments based off a submitted resume, portfolio, written proposal and a proposed budget.

“I think by showing our work in this exhibit we are representing the student body of our department as a whole – what we have gained in our years in Woods and Garland Hall and how we are able to turn that knowledge into creative ideas,” Tchernseshoff said.

The artists were given only two guidelines for their work – a $1,500 budget and a deadline.

While the deadline gave the artists around six months to complete their exhibit works, fellow recipient Elizabeth Alexander, a senior majoring in studio art, said every minute was needed to become show-ready.

“I actually literally have spent an average of 16 hours a day in Woods Hall every single day until the wee hours of the morning since October,” Alexander said. “We even spent Christmas break in the studio.”

Alexander’s work will join Tcherneshoff’s in the Windgate exhibit, which opens Thursday.

“My first installation is made of deconstructed tea bags that I dyed in red wine, and then fused together with heat and beeswax to create large sheets that I hung from the ceiling. I counted how many bottles of wine went into making this – 27. I also used 1,400 large tea bags.”

“I also have two 5 x 3 foot figure paintings that are painted with red wine and tea, then a 4 foot by 4 foot painting made of rabbit skin glue and tea leaves.”

Alexander said there was no particular inspiration for her pieces.

“I couldn’t actually give you a specific moment of inspiration,” she said. “It kind of just came out of me. This work is mostly about the viewer interacting with the piece and being able to have a moment with it.”

Tcherneshoff’s said her pieces reflect her love to be outdoors.

“I always feel the most comfortable when I am outside, on my own, just thinking, or not thinking,” Tcherneshoff said. “So I guess my life experiences would be the inspiration behind this. In the exhibition, I have an installation with tree rounds that have been screen printed on the ends, accompanied by screen prints of the same images that are on the rounds.”

Both Tchernshoff and Alexander agree that being chosen as a Windgate Fellow has been an invaluable experience.

“We were given an amazing opportunity to take this money and use it to buy materials and tools for ourselves we wouldn’t have been able to buy normally. It’s also valuable to go through the entire process of proposing and making to installing something in a gallery setting,” Alexander said.

The exhibit will run through May 24. The Moody Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Thursdays, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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