Middlebury College Museum of Art

News & Events

Middlebury College Friends of the Art Museum Honor Eleven for Excellence in the Visual Arts

April 11, 2006

For immediate release: 4/11/06
For further information contact: Andrea Solomon, Events and Programs Coordinator, (802) 443–2034

MIDDLEBURY, VT—Each year the Friends of the Art Museum at Middlebury College recognize those who have made significant contributions to the community, either through their creative endeavors or through support for the visual arts in Addison County. At their Annual Meeting on Sun., April 9, the Friends honored eleven individuals in six categories. Student award winners were Middlebury College senior Jennifer Watson, Middlebury Union High School senior Emily Hillman, North Branch School eighth-grader Viscaya DuMond Wagner, and Beeman Elementary School sixth-graders Amanda and Megan Morse. Award recipients in professional and volunteer categories included Lincoln artist Reed Prescott, and the Robinson Elementary School Arts Leadership Team of Peg Brakeley, Pam Paradee, Vera Ryersbach, Frank Spina, and Lynn Stewart Parker.

Jennifer Watson is a senior at Middlebury College majoring in the History of Art and Architecture. She was a junior Phi Beta Kappa Scholar, and she spent her junior year abroad in France and Italy where she worked with children and art to foster social integration. During her time at Middlebury she has organized several exhibits at the college, and she has published two articles in the French art journal Area. This year, in addition to writing her thesis, which explores the relationship between Robert Rauschenberg and the Nouveau Realistes, Jennifer is also the Robert F. Reiff Intern at the college museum and a member of the Museum Assistants Program. Upon graduation she plans to work with children in France using art as a means of exploring social identity, and she has applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to support this work.

As a senior at Middlebury Union High School, Emily Hillman has enrolled in all of the available visual art courses. Her teachers all consider her to be a dedicated, multi-dimensional artist with a positive attitude and a great sense of color and design. Last year Emily was enrolled in the Addison Repertory Theater where she was responsible for designing, painting, and building sets, as well as designing costumes and co-producing the main stage play. Outside of school Emily has enrolled in clay classes at Frog Hollow and has studied drawing with Judy Beaney and Sean Callahan. Emily is considering attending the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City this fall.

Viscaya DuMond Wagner has been interested in the arts since she was very young. As a student at the Bridge School she was consumed by craft and was known for her love of theater, including singing, acting, and dancing. She has been deeply involved in art since her arrival last year at the North Branch School where she has studied everything from ancient Greek art through modern and contemporary art, including Monet, Picasso, and Warhol. “In class she works extremely hard displaying an intense focus on any project,” says her teacher, Tal Birdsey, “and she is extremely gifted in color balance and composition. She speaks often about wanting to use art to describe the way she feels in her heart, to express her idea of love.”

Amanda Morse has shown dedication and enthusiasm in the arts since kindergarten. She loves color and has an ability to see relationships in the world around her that show up in her drawings and paintings. She prefers to draw and paint from life as opposed to her imagination, and she particularly enjoys working with three-dimensional forms as well as block prints and pottery. Amanda continues creating art outside of school, frequently bringing home ideas from school and taking them further. Her extra-curricular projects include basket making, weaving, rug hooking, and stained glass, and some of her works have won prizes at the Addison County Fair and Field Days.

Megan Morse has shown confidence and proficiency in the arts since she was very young. She enjoys learning about new forms of art, and works steadily and loosely. Her teachers agree that Megan has shown great originality in visualizing the potential use of a variety of shapes, putting them together in well-balanced whole designs. She likes to start her projects by working from reality, and then she adds elements from her imagination. She, along with her sister, Amanda, is part of a group of dedicated student artists who stay inside during recess to keep working on their art projects, and she too continues her artistic pursuits at home producing works that have won awards at Field Days.

Reed Prescott, a Lincoln native, is a graduate of the School of the Worcester Art Museum and has been a full time artist since 1988. As an artist he is deeply active in the arts of the community and the state, and his honors and recognitions are numerous. In 2003 he was chosen by the Vermont Arts Council to participate in the Vermont Art in the State House Day. He has won the Vermont Duck Stamp competition twice, and his work has been used by nature related organizations for conservation efforts like the Waterfowl Fund and the Bristol Watershed Center. His donations of prints to local and national organizations generate thousands of dollars annually and are used by everyone from private schools to health care organizations. He has been a board member of Bristol Friends of the Arts, as well as the new Art on Main. He serves on the Five Town Business Council Marketing Committee, the Bristol Vision Task Force, and the Vermont Conference on Christianity in the Arts, and he teaches workshops in elementary schools throughout the state. He has illustrated ten books, each with more than 100 pen and ink illustrations, and his work has graced the covers of many magazines.

Since 2003, the Arts Leadership team at Robinson Elementary School has provided the staff and students with significant, transformative opportunities to grow and learn in the Arts by integrating the visual arts into the curriculum in their own classrooms while providing professional support from arts specialists. They successfully spearheaded efforts to secure a three-year, $185,000 federal Comprehensive School Reform grant that focused on teaching core content through the arts, and their leadership helped make Robinson Elementary School the winner of the 2005 Kennedy Center Creative Ticket National Schools of Distinction Award for Excellence in Arts Education. In addition, the school has recently learned that it is among a handful of other Vermont Schools selected for a SmART Schools grant for the coming year. The team’s efforts have allowed elementary students to have a deeper understanding of the arts and has provided greater access to the arts curriculum for more students.

The awards process begins in January each year with a call for nominations from the community. For further information, contact Andrea Solomon, Events and Programs Coordinator at the Middlebury College Museum of Art.