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A work by Smallen Creativity Grant recipient Deanna Perez '14.
A work by Smallen Creativity Grant recipient Deanna Perez '14.

Ten Awarded Smallen Creativity Grants

By Holly Foster
Posted December 19, 2013
Tags Smallen Creativity Grant Students

Ten Hamilton students have received grants from the Steven Daniel Smallen Memorial Fund. The 2013 recipients are Zoe Bodzas ’16, Michael Burchesky ’17, Samuel Finkelstein ’14 , Nicholas Geisler ’14, Deanna Perez ’14, Alison Ritacco’14, William Sinton ’15, Sean Henry-Smith ’15,Mackenzie Theobald ’14 and Sam Wagner ’14.

The Smallen Fund aims to encourage student creativity among Hamilton students by providing funds for projects displaying originality, expressiveness and imagination. Hamilton Vice President for Libraries and Information Technology David Smallen and his wife Ann established the fund in 1993 in memory of their son Steven. Steven Smallen studied at Hamilton for a year while receiving treatment for leukemia, before losing his battle with cancer in 1992.

The projects represent a range of subjects and mediums.

Zoe Bodzas’ project is titled “A Zine of Introspective Poetry Drawn from Outside Impressions” and combines two creative traditions: personal writing and the self-published small publication (Zines are small-scale publications of original work traditionally homemade and unconcerned with profit). The project will be a study of outside perception and identity and centers on a series of poems she intends to write after interviewing a range of people.

Michael Burchesky will build a Three Pendulum Rotary Harmonograph Machine. A harmonograph is a machine that combines art and science in an interesting and interactive display. The machine will use two laterally swinging pendulums to manipulate a pen and a third, rotary pendulum to control a writing surface. When the pendulums are set in motion, the pen and surface move in harmony to draw intricate spiral designs.

Sam Finkelstein will use his grant to create an online collaborative arts publication. This proposed monthly online publication will allow for anyone interested in the arts to work with others who share the interest.

For his senior honors thesis in creative writing Nicholas Geisler is writing a novella exploring the American idea of road trips as potentially transformative and/or implicitly meaningful actions. The story concerns two friends who decide to bring their recently deceased friend along on a trip to Memphis, Tenn., to see Graceland. Geisler will use his grant to visit Graceland to create the actual road trip on which he is sending his characters. “By actually embarking on the trip of my novella I can glean greater insight into the idea of road trips and give the story a more realistic grounding,” he wrote in his proposal.

In a project titled “The Reality of Reading,” Deanna Perez will create paper sculptures from recycled books.  They will include fantastical imaginative pieces, and sculptures specifically focused on using the line of sentences from books – using sentences in the same way one might draw the object on paper.

Alison Ritacco will produce a film  about the concept and physical aspects of the effects of anxiety through photography for her senior project. Her goal is that the viewer will be able to connect with the pieces while also gaining a sense of either comfort or further anxiety when viewing them. 

William Sinton and Sean Henry-Smith will undertake a joint project titled Queer is Thy Homestead, Glade and Glen: A Multimedia History of LGBT Continentals.

Mackenzie Theobald will pursue the theme of “Perspective and Control” two main ideas for her senior art thesis, using glass and plastics. She aims to create pieces that guide viewer’s perception of the work by controlling how they view it.

In a project titled Applying Craft to Craft, Sam Wagner will combine his interests in creative writing, photography and craft beer to create a series of written pieces, with complementary art, that explore the craft beer industry and which results in an imaginatively

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