Guest post from Alliance staffer Danniel Swatosh, Manager of Design & Production

In October 2011, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers launched the Atelier, our first Artists in Residency program, and it’s been a privilege to develop and administer it. The purpose of this program is to support the promising careers of recent alumni of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Over the course of three months, this year’s residents—past Awards winners Winston Chmielinski, Valerie Crosswhite, Justin Nissley, Sasha Shaw and Rachel Shim—created new works of art in a storefront at One New York Plaza. The artists received studio space donated by arts>Brookfield, along with a monthly stipend and general supplies.

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Valerie Crosswhite at work in the Atelier

Scholastic Awards winner and Atelier artist Valerie Crosswhite talks about her work.

With these paintings, I am exploring the playful, and sometimes, fantastic relationships we form with animals and our ideas of others in the spaces we create for ourselves.

I’m interested in events that occur when we are not looking—are they magical, naughty, quotidian, or something else?  I am inclined to think all of the above, but fantasize that the things that occur in these spaces are fundamentally different than when someone is looking.  Not that the furniture starts rearranging itself when we leave our apartments for the day, but more like a secret life: vibrant, yet imperceptible.

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Gloucester by Winston Chmielinski

Meet Winston Chmielinski, Scholastic Awards winner and resident at the Alliance’s Atelier. Winston is one of five residents creating new works of art in our first ever artists-in-residency program.

What is your connection to the Scholastic Awards? In 2006, I submitted a few paintings of enormous heads of my sister’s friends, which made it through to the national-level awards show at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C. It is still the best thing on my CV!

Describe your experience at the Atelier. I feel like I’m one among a chosen few to have been gifted the artist’s holy trinity of space, opportunity, and support by the hardworking and devoted Alliance for Young Artists & Writers staff.

Meeting the validators of my early forays into art has been a very humbling experience. Read More

A detail of Rachel Shim's Act Natural

Scholastic Awards winner Rachel Shim writes about her experience as a resident in the Alliance’s Atelier. She will be participating in Brooklyn Artists Gym’s “Introductions” exhibition. Come out for the opening reception on Saturday, December 17 from 6-9pm!

Creating art in an exposed public space has been both a challenging and refreshing experience. Sandwiched between the small shops and cafés of the lower lobby, the Atelier transforms the privacy of art making into some sort of public spectacle. The glass window changes everything because it asks for the artists in the Atelier to be watched. I enjoy that our presence in the building interrupts the fast-paced work environment, allowing passers-by to slow down and even stop for a moment to watch us work.

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From the Atelier: Sasha Shaw, The Happy and The Sad.

Today is our last Atelier Open Studio! Stop by to see past Scholastic Art & Writing Awards winners create new works of art in our first artists-in-residency program between 12–6pm.

Resident Sasha Shaw won a National Silver Medal Award for Art Portfolio in 2001. You can find her most recent work at this year’s Degenerate Craft Fair on December 10 and 11 at 159 Bleecker Street. Opening reception is on December 10 from 6–9pm. Be sure to check it out!

When did you first become interested in art? What inspires you to make art? As a teenager, I learned to love solitude. It went naturally with being a largely nonverbal person and a hybrid of Taiwanese and South Carolinian cultures. I viewed the practice of painting as a guarantee of time for slowness and reflection, a sort of recorded proof of uncontrollable perpetual wonder, and a way of solidifying layered as well as contradictory thoughts.

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Left: Justin Nissley working on a painting in the Atelier. Right: The finished product.

Justin Nissley, is one of five residents creating new works of art in our first ever artists-in-residency program. The residents are all comprised of past Scholastic Art & Writing Awards winners. Don’t miss out on the chance to watch them work for one last time at One New York Plaza on Friday, December 9 between 12-6pm!

What is your connection to the Scholastic Awards? I won a Gold Key in 2001 from Hempfield High School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was my first piece of digital art and the first digital work to win an award from my school. At the time, I didn’t realize how important this would be for me, but years later, I returned to the computer to make visual art. More than that, the opportunities which have surfaced because of the award have been tremendous.

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