Dear College of Arts and Science friends:
Imagine you’re a senior approaching graduation. You’re making plans for going into the workforce or graduate school when you’re handed a present: funding to travel the world and make art for a year.
That was the unexpected gift given to art major Alexis Jackson. The senior from Memphis, Tennessee, received this year’s prestigious Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award. The award was created by Margaret Hamblet’s husband and daughter in honor of the 1926 alumna who loved art. It’s the Department of Art’s highest prize and awarded to a senior who shows outstanding merit in studio art.
Alexis’ work is powerful, moving and sobering. She uses art to explore the histories and complexities of systematic racism in America. Her goal is to start a dialogue using the photographs, digital images, text, audio and video in her art.
I love that. Her art isn’t just to entertain, please or show off her skill. Alexis’ goal is to help people communicate, connect and think — and perhaps change.
That goes right to the heart of our mission. The College of Arts and Science is dedicated to education, service to society, and engaging in significant and innovative research, scholarship and creative expression in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.
Alexis’ art — and that of our other graduating seniors — embodies creative expression, talent, skill and innovation. I encourage you to see it for yourself. Their work is on display in the Senior Show 2015 at the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center through May 9.