UC Davis graduate student Jodi Connelly was awarded the 2018 Keister and Allen Art Purchase Prize for an art project featuring the NRS's McLaughlin Natural Reserve. The prize is given to a UC Davis art studio Master of Fine Arts student annually. The award provides for the purchase of artwork created by the recipient for the university’s Fine Arts Collection. The award was presented at the May 31 opening reception for the annual graduate student exhibition at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.
For her final thesis project, Connelly engaged in an “environmental intervention” by removing invasive plants and replacing them with native grasses and flowers. She presents the changes through an installation that includes grasses and photos. The work is in the graduate student exhibition on display through June 17.
“It is an incredible honor and I am deeply grateful for the support of the studio art faculty,” said Connelly. “My cohort and Cathy Koehler, the director of the McLaughlin reserve where I did the work, was an amazing source of support and information as I worked on this project. I encountered many unforeseen obstacles along the way, but the support and friendship of my community gave me the courage to continue when I doubted everything. Thank you to everyone who believed in this project. I am excited to pursue future iterations of this work.”
Prior to coming to the College of Letters and Science’s Department of Art and Art History, Connelly developed arts programming for inner-city youth in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. She was a recipient of the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts Grant, the Kira Fournier Memorial Scholarship for Sculpture at Brandeis University, and the UC Davis Drake Award. She has been awarded residencies at Cill Railaig in Ireland, Vermont Studio Center and Penland in North Carolina.
The prize is made through an endowment fund established by Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of the UC Davis Office of Development and Alumni Relations, and Walter Allen, a business analyst in the client services unit of UC Davis Information and Educational Technology.