Annual arts awards ceremony highlights student achievements in music, theater, studio art and film

by Lauren Segal | 5/28/20 2:10am

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by Marina Agapakis / The Dartmouth

The Hopkins Center for the Arts hosted its annual Arts at Dartmouth Awards ceremony on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate exceptional student work in the theater, music, studio art and film and media studies departments. While the ceremony typically takes place in Spaulding Auditorium, this year’s event was livestreamed via YouTube to accommodate the remote nature of the term.

Thirty-four awards were given out across Dartmouth’s arts departments, the Hop and the Hop’s ensembles. Top prizes went to Mychaela Anderson ’20 and Maya Frost-Belansky ’20, recipients of the David Birney Award for Excellence in the Theater Arts, Hoang Long Do ’20, Sia Peng ’20, Victor Wu ’20 and Sebastian Wurzrainer ’20, recipients of the Maurice H. Rapf ’35 Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film and Media Studies, Summer Cody ’20, Caitlin McGrail ’20 and Gabriel Zuckerberg ’20, who received the Eugene Roitman 1943 Memorial Award in the music department and Tanya Shah ’20 and Eric Wang ’20, who were awarded the Perspectives on Design Award in the studio art department.

Hop director Mary Lou Aleskie expressed hope in her opening remarks that despite the fact that this term is far from what students may have imagined, the Hop still remains an “artistic home” that supports and celebrates the creative pursuits of students.

“We will always be here, applauding you from the wings and urging you on your journey,” Aleskie said. 

Aleskie then introduced College President Phil Hanlon and Provost Joseph Helble, who both congratulated this year’s recipients and offered their thoughts on the practice of creative and performance arts during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hanlon noted the importance of acknowledging student artists and their work in light of the challenges that accompany the current pandemic.

“All across the globe, people have turned to the arts to help them through this dark time,” Hanlon said. “We’ve witnessed the capacity of art to uplift the human spirit.”

Helble added that student artists’ work has helped restore the Dartmouth community’s ability to connect with one another, something that COVID-19 disrupted.

“The arts are always important as a way to bring us together, but now more than ever, they matter and what you do matters,” Helble said.

Emma Rodriguez ’20 — one of the winners of the W. David Dance 1940 Fine Arts Award, which is given out to “three exceptional graduating seniors” in the studio arts department  —  expanded on this sentiment by expressing how her art has helped her navigate the pandemic.

“The remote term has given me a lot of reasons to paint because painting helps me work through the loneliness, uncertainty, et cetera,” Rodriguez said. “The paintings help me work through difficult emotions because of their meditative quality, and they allow me to escape from reality for a little while to create something.”

Theater department chair Dan Kotlowitz, film and media studies department chair Paul Young, studio arts chair Enrico Riley and music department chair Kui Dong each presented awards in their respective departments. 

In the theater department, Adam Jay Riegler ’20 was recognized as the best student director of the year with the Clifford S. Gurdin 1964 Memorial Prize, Nathaniel Stornelli ’21 and Brandy Zhang ’22 received the George W. and Sarah Schoenhut Service Award for their work in non-acting activities, Sophia Kinne ’20 and Eleanor Mitchell ’20 won the Benjamin and Edna Ehrlich Prize in the Dramatic Arts for their work in theater literature, criticism and production, Savannah Miller ’21 and Nicholas Gutierrez ’20 won the Robert H. Nutt ’49 Award for outstanding written work and Hannah Haile ’20 received an award of special recognition for her contributions to Dartmouth’s theater community. 

Armond Epps Dorsey ’20 and Miller won the Eleanor Frost Playwriting Competition, and Naomi Lam ’21 won the Ruth and Loring Holmes Dodd Drama Prize, which recognizes the best original play by an undergraduate. 

Additionally, Kinne, Kerrigan Quenemoen ’20, Samantha West ’20, Stella Asa ’22, Kate Budney ’21 and Lexi Warden ’21 received theater fellowships, while Naomi Agnew ’20, Robert Alter ’21, Giovanna Boyle ’20, Gabrielle Mitchell ’22, Millenah Nascimento ’21 and Evan Schafer ’22 won awards to support their internships in theater.

The film and media studies department awarded Elinor Dooley ’20 with the James Joseph Kaplan Filmmaker of the Year Award and Yumi Naruke ’20 with the John P. Wolfenden Award in Film and Media Studies.

Isabelle Brick ’20, Betty Kim ’20 and Haocheng Yang ’21 won the Macdonald-Smith Prize for their achievements in musical performance, and Ida Claude ’22, Jacob Donoghue ’22 and David Lucas James ’21 received the Erich Kunzel Class of 1957 Award to fund their research in music. 

Claude, who works as a student manager for the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, spoke about her experience as a musically inclined student on campus, as well as the unfortunate timing of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I came to Dartmouth knowing that I wanted to continue studying violin at a high level and was grateful to have opportunities to do that through the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra and the music study abroad program,” Claude said. “This award would have helped me fund my trip to London through the music [Foreign Study Program]. Unfortunately, the program was canceled, but I’m brainstorming future music projects that I can use this funding for.”

The W. David Dance 1940 Fine Arts Award was presented to Claire Burner ’20, Christina Lu ’20 and Rodriguez. According to Rodriguez, in lieu of a cash prize, recipients of the award receive a contemporary fine art print from a group of works ranging in style from etchings, woodcuts, engravings, mezzotints, digital media and photographs donated to the Hood specifically for the award.

“I think it’s a really beautiful way to award an artist by giving them a chance to pick a piece of work by another artist that’s already been in the Hood collection,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not everyday that you get to choose a print from a museum and take it home.”

Additional prizes in the studio arts department went to Grace Hanselman ’20, Rachel Lincoln ’20 and Kate Shiber ’20, who won the Robert Read Prize for their work in the graphic arts, Turiya Adkins ’20, Yenny Dieguez ’20, Seamus Hall ’20 and Saba Maheen ’20, who received the Wolfenden Fine Arts Prize for their work in painting, sculpture or drawing and Julian Jimenez ’22 and Macy Toppan ’22, who won the Melissa Brown Hurlock-Hobson ’93 Award for their accomplishments in printmaking, painting, sculpture, drawing or photography.

Riley concluded the department’s awards with the announcement of next year’s post-graduate studio art interns: Adkins, Burner, Hanselman and Wang.

Hop managing director and executive producer Joshua Kol ’93 presented the Hop’s ensemble awards to Benjamin Alford ’22, Brick, Hanna Bliska ’20 and Iliana Godoy ’20. The Hop awarded additional prizes to Zeke Baker ’20, Brooke Bazarian ’20, Holden Harris ’20, Samantha Hysa ’20, Kinne, Maheen, Owen Stoddard ’18 and Jessica Zhang ’21.

To conclude the presentation of awards, the Marcus Heiman-Martin R. Rosenthal ’56 Achievement Awards in the Creative Arts, which recognizes one student each in theater, film, music, studio art, dance ensembles, instrumental ensembles, vocal ensembles, student workshops and arts administration, were awarded to Kinne, Agnew, Kim, Dieguez, Mary Versa Clemens-Sewall ’20, Richard Lu ’20, Brick, Janice Chen ’19 and Morgan Gelber ’20, respectively.

In a surprising turn of events, Aleskie presented the Sudler Prize in the Arts, which is typically awarded to a single recipient of the Heiman-Rosenthal award, to all nine awardees. She cited the “extraordinary creativity” of this year’s cohort and the unprecedented situation of working remotely as the reason for this decision.

The ceremony concluded with an address by guest Latif Nasser ’08, director of research and a reporter at the New York Public Radio show “Radiolab.” In his speech, Nasser — who was involved in the theater department during his years as an undergraduate at Dartmouth — likened his own experience entering a job market in the midst of an economic recession to what students are experiencing as a result of COVID-19. 

While recognizing the desire to find definition and stability amid the uncertainty that comes with a crisis, Nasser encouraged students to embrace the ambiguity of the situation and harness it to achieve their goals.

“The trick … is to chase the random, miscellany of stuff that you’re actually interested in and then to cobble it all together in a new and fruitful way,” Nasser said. “To find harmonics between notes that live deep in you that no one has ever thought to combine.”

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