Each year, ten emerging artists are selected from schools across the United States for the Windgate Fellowship, granted by the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. This year, Anna Greer, in her final year of the University of Oregon BFA program, was named a Windgate Fellow for her ten-piece mixed media jewelry and sculpture collection.
“I am not surprised that Anna was a recipient,” says Anya Kivarkis, assistant professor of art and coordinator of jewelry and metalsmithing. “She has the potential to bring new thinking to the field.”
Greer is the fourth BFA student in the past eight years from the UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts jewelry and metalsmithing concentration to be named a Windgate Fellow. Fellows are awarded $15,000 that is intended to give emerging artists “the validation and financial resources to pursue their dreams.”
“I don’t think I’m a metalsmith or a jeweler. And I don’t feel like a sculptor,” says Greer. “I’m just down to try anything.”
More than 100 universities and colleges are invited to nominate two applicants for the Wingate Fellowship. This year, the panel reviewed 115 applications for “the best and brightest emerging makers in the field of craft.” Greer submitted an ambitious mixed media collection using color palette of mostly soft pinks, whites, and light greens.
Greer chose the colors she describes as “nauseating” to make a statement while emphasizing cohesion. The collection’s inspiration, a 1950s starlet aesthetic, explores and articulates some of the failures of glamour.
“They are all very post-war colors, in that they’re synthetic and not at all natural,” says Greer. “A lot of my work is reminiscent of modernity and modern constructions of gender meaning.”
Despite her metalsmithing and jewelry concentration, Greer has experimented with painting, soft fibers, woodworking, and video. Her pieces often become risky because she fuses a variety of mediums, she says.
“It’s just very weird art,” says Greer. “I don’t even really know what to call it.”
The Portland native plans to move back to her hometown to rent a studio and invest in a set of art supplies with the Windgate fund. While she intends to eventually attend graduate school, Greer feels that getting a collection in a gallery might be the logical next step.
“It’s actually a really large task,” says Greer. “I still haven’t sat down and wrapped my head around it.”
Story by Cari Johnson