Assumption Artists Lauded by Arts Worcester

Mar 03, 2021

Students, Alumni Represent Three of the Top Five Awardees in Annual College Exhibition

Competing against other intuitions of higher learning in Worcester, the submissions of two Assumption alumni and one student were recognized among the top five awardees in the 17th Annual Arts Worcester College Show.

Held virtually this year due to the pandemic, the juried, online exhibition featured more than 180 submissions from Worcester college and university students of any major. The prizewinners were chosen by Aprile Gallant, associate director of curatorial affairs and senior curator of prints, drawings and photographs at the Smith College Museum of Art.

“The Department of Art and Music, as well as the University community, were elated to hear of the University’s impressive showing in the 17th Annual Arts Worcester College Show with Assumption students earning three of the top five distinctions,” said Prof. Toby Norris, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Art and Music. “Despite the challenges and disruption of the pandemic, Dana, Sydney and Nicholas drew inspiration from their tenacious spirit in creating profound works of art that reflect the depth of creativity and talent at Assumption.”

The exhibition may be viewed online until March 7, 2021.

Among the top three prize winners was Dana Mendes’ ’20 “Translating Cancer: 5-Years Post-Transplant,” a 48” by 36” oil on canvas self-portrait of the artist that features five koi fish, representing “strength, perseverance, bravery, prosperity, overcoming challenges, and other admirable traits.” The five koi represent each member of her family, one, her sister Brianna, who donated bone marrow to Dana. 

“This quarantine has paralleled my previous post-treatment isolation, where for eight months, I was restricted as to where I could go, who I could see, and what I could do,” explained Mendes. “In quarantine, I’m once again confronted on similar aspects as I did in isolation, and hope to encourage meaningful thought and contemplation in the lives of others. How do you handle the challenges in your life? Do you have an outlet? How have your relationships changed? Does the fragility of life limit or empower you? How often do you take risks? In your current season of life, are you growing or stagnant? It’s these questions that others can think upon as I have, but in the face of devastating circumstances – cancer diagnoses or pandemics – we can flourish immeasurably.”

The submissions of one alumnae and one student, Sydney LaQue ’20 and Nicholas Sposato ’22, were recognized with honorable mentions. LaQue, who majored in graphic design and studio art, submitted “Elephant Skull,” a 30” by 45” mechanical pencil drawing on white mixed media paper. Sposato, whose Graphic Design major is complemented by a minor in Music, submitted “Corona Nightmare,” a digital print created using Adobe Illustrator.

Assumption’s Department of Art and Music offers several programs in which students are inspired to discover or develop their talents through classes in design, art or music.  Students’ artistic talents are showcased in a number of settings such as the Chapel of the Holy Spirit or the 400-seat state-of-the-art Jeanne Y. Curtis Performance Hall. Internships at the Worcester Art Museum and other institutions of cultural significance provide students opportunities to perform and exhibit before the city’s burgeoning arts community.