posted July 9, 2013

Katherine Sullivan of Art Faculty Receives Fulbright Award

Katherine Sullivan, associate professor of art at Hope College, will spend the 2013-14 school year in India through an award from the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program.

                        The Fulbright is one of three different awards that she has received to spend time abroad this year in support of her development as an artist and as she develops new content for the courses she teaches.  Earlier this summer she traveled to South Africa through a program of the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity, and in the coming weeks she will visit Italy through a Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA) New Directions grant.

                        Based in New Delhi, India, through the Fulbright, Sullivan will be studying the appearance of mythological and sacred female figures in Hindu art, particularly nāgī deities, and the use of color in the paintings of the Buddhist caves as Ajanta and in the detailed miniature paintings of the late Mughal period that preceded British rule.  She will also hold a teaching appointment at Jamia Millia Islamia, or the “National University,” in New Delhi for the duration of the grant.

                        Sullivan intends to use the time to paint as well, and plans to add what she learns to the studio course she teaches at Hope in color theory--a class attended not only by art majors but students from throughout the academic program.

“It will directly impact my color-theory course, which has recently become a focus of my pedagogical research,” she said. “The in-depth study of historical art and contemporary culture in India made possible by the Fulbright will add a distinctly Eastern perspective to the course, making it more global in its overall content and approach.”

                        The course in color theory is also a major consideration behind her trip to Italy, through which she will attend the 55th International Venice Biennale, a global exposition of avant-garde work from across the artistic spectrum.  The New Directions grant from the GLCA also supported her travel earlier during the 2012-13 school year to a retrospective exhibition in Mexico City of the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez and will fund travel to the 7th European Conference in Graphics, Imaging and Vision.

                        Sullivan traveled to South Africa from May 1 through June 15 as a participant in “R5: A Visual Arts Seminar and Studio in South Africa.”  Through the seminar, 10 art faculty from North American faith-based colleges and universities teamed with 10 from around Southern Africa to explore themes focused around five “Rs”:  Remembrance, Resistance, Reconciliation, Representation and Re-visioning.  The program was organized by the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity, based at Calvin College, with the endorsement of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and The Lilly Fellows Program National Network of Church Related Colleges and Universities.

                        In addition to exploring the themes for her work as an artist, Sullivan anticipates that she will integrate insights from her experience in South Africa into her freshman-level “First-Year Seminar” focused on art and activism.  She is also planning to include material in the course based on her time in India, particularly exploring how the Mughal tradition became shaped by the nation’s subsequent rule by Britain.

                        Sullivan has been a member of the Hope faculty since 2003.  Through the years she has had work in more than 40 solo exhibitions or group exhibitions locally as well as around the country, including most recently the Mid-America College Art Association 2012 Exhibition at Wayne State University Art Gallery in Detroit, the 2012 Juried Exhibition at the Manhattan Graphics Center in New York City, the Art Gallery Benefit Invitational at Raritan Valley Community College in Somerville, N.J., and the West Michigan Area Show at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.  Her work was highlighted at Hope in the solo exhibition “The Docile Body” in 2010 and in the two-person show “Katherine Sullivan/Israel Davis” in 2004.

                        She has held multiple residencies, including in the past three years with the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, N.M.; the Open Studio Print Shop in Toronto, Canada; and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.  In addition to her teaching at Hope, she was a visiting artist at the University of Indianapolis in Indiana in 2008 and at Ithaca College in New York in 2006.  Among other honors and awards, in 2010 she won third place in the Young Painter’s Competition at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. 

                        Sullivan received her BFA from the University of Michigan in 1997. In 2001 she received her MFA in painting and drawing from Boston University, where she received the 2000 Richard Ryan Sr. Memorial Award and the 2001 Graduate Teaching Award. She has conducted additional study at programs including Chautauqua Institute, the New York Studio School, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

The flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government, for more than 60 years the Fulbright Program has sponsored the exchange of students and scholars between the United States and many other countries around the world through a variety of initiatives to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program sends approximately 800 American scholars and professionals per year to approximately 130 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.

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