Mendes ’20 Recognized with Top Prize in ArtsWorcester Exhibition 

Mar. 2, 2020
By Emily Grillo ’20 
Dana Mendes ’20, a secondary education in visual arts major from Merrimack, NH, who recently took first place in ArtsWorcester’s 16th Annual College Show.

    
Dana Mendes ’20, a secondary education in visual arts major from Merrimack, NH, recently took first place in ArtsWorcester’s 16th Annual College Show. Mendes’s submission, Self-Portrait: Dana, was awarded one of the event’s two exhibition prizes. 

“Originally, I had no intention of entering this or any other pieces in the show, but Professor Ray highly encouraged me to do so,” explained Mendes, adding that the piece was part of a value study for her advanced studio workshop. “Truthfully, he deserves my thanks as well because he’s the one that affirmed its worthiness.”

Mendes said that her now award-winning self-portrait was done using realism, a style Mendes prefers to work in, however, created with her least favorite medium: charcoal. She admits the assignment was a bit difficult to tackle. Mendes said, “Charcoal is my least favorite medium, so working with that and manipulating it in a way that worked best for me to make my piece look accurate was always the focus for every class … After this study, I feel confident is saying using this medium is now more of a strength than a weakness.” 

Mendes shared that she approached the competition as a learning experience. “Any time you enter work into an exhibition, the entire process is an opportunity to learn, gain exposure, and embrace any shortcoming that may come along the way,” she said. Mendes entered the competition without any expectations; if her piece didn’t win, she would have used it as an opportunity to reflect on, “what I could do better to improve my pieces in the future.”  Once it was declared a winner, Mendes said, “I had to recognize that, even though I thought entering such a personal piece would be odd, it’s actually really impressive, and deserves to be recognized.”

This was Mendes’s second time entering the College Show. She entered her sophomore year, submitting a personal piece titled Translating Cancer, “which showed the progressive effects of my respective cancer throughout the year I was diagnosed and being treated.” Her piece won and the committee was “very moved and highly encouraged me to continue creating and sharing my work,” she shared. 

Mendes, who became interested in the arts at the age of 10, said it’s become an outlet for her over the years and plans to incorporate it into her future vocation. “Becoming an art teacher is without a doubt part of the purpose God has for me,” she shared.

Kate Kruzick ’20 received an Honorable Mention for her video art submission Invert One. “My goal for the piece was to make a collage of sound and video, using captured footage and meshing the two together to create visuals and audio that don’t line up,” she explained. 

Art from the 16th Annual College Show is on view in the East and West Galleries of ArtsWorcester now through Saturday, March 7. Visit www.artsworcester.org for more information.