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A Nod to the Creative


Sixteen Hamilton students have received creativity grants from the Steven Daniel Smallen Memorial Fund for 2017.

The Smallen Fund aims to encourage student creativity among Hamilton students by providing funds for projects displaying originality, expressiveness and imagination. Former 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. He studied at Hamilton for a year while receiving treatment for leukemia, before losing his battle with cancer in 1992.

Matthew Tom’s ’20 project Chink in My Armour is an attempt to reclaim the iconographies of a stereotyped Asian culture through traditional western ideals of art.  Tom is an intended art major. His project will include both 2-D and 3-D works, each inspired by a single icon of Asian culture, yet presented through traditional views of composition and technique, thus symbolizing the unique cultural identity of Asian-Americans. 

Other recipients are:

  • Caitlin Becker ’18 plans to create large canvas portraits that narrate how humans interact with light both emotionally and physically.
  • For her senior thesis in Cinema and Media Studies, Bridget Braley ’18 intends to create a Women’s Film Festival at Hamilton in spring 2018 in order to create a space for women-directed and women-centric films at Hamilton.
  • Tulia Day ’18 will be working with the figure in the context of surrealistic compositions that convey a narrative on the scale of murals.
  • Maximiliano Hernandez-Zapata ’19 is the grandson of a Cuban emigrant and plans to create a book of photographs and essays about the globalization occurring in Cuba. He’ll emphasize how ordinary Cubans feel about the political, social, and economic “changes” taking place.
  • James Larson ’18 will study the practice of art making, as it relates to contemporary artists marketing themselves through an artistic lifestyle captured and broadcasted via social and digital media outlets.   
  • Brian Maldonado ’18 will attempt to capture photographic images that encapsulate the relationship between his queerness and his religious upbringing. 
  • Mackenzie Morshead ’18 will use a combination of photography and sculpture to explore the complexity of human connection.  Through her work she intends to discover both the ways the human connection can be limited, but also the mystery of the moments in which one can feel a deep sense of understanding and being understood.
  • Paula Ortiz’s ’18 objective is to find a photographic way to understand Immanence and Transcendence and to expand them in a way that can relate to a deep personal level.
  • Marisabel Rey ’19 will produce ceramic works that will have a sensory quality to them.  Viewers will be invited to experience the pieces through touching as well as seeing.
  • By expanding on his previous work with photograms, Kevin Rodriguez ’18 seeks to generate wonder and awe through his exploration of subjects that are only represented by the lights and shadows that refract when they pass through a certain material. 
  • Melodie Rosen ’18 will use her Women and Gender Studies minor to produce a film that takes place in the early 2000’s, and is about a woman balancing her life in the female escort service and as a mother. 
  • For her senior thesis Julia Smith ’18 will reclaim her inner “Space Cadet” and create surrealist landscapes based off her daydreams. 
  • Using photography and printmaking techniques Julie Suk ’18 will examine the ephemeral nature of emotion in order to show how we embrace the constant changes in our lives and outgrow our old selves.
  • As an immigrant to the United States from Cuba at a young age, Maura Torres ’18 will create a variety of sculptures that already have history or a former use to them and impose a new history, creating a sense of nostalgia for her viewers.
  • Charlotte Zee’s ’18 goal is to create a visual representation of a changing society and express the stories of individuals living in it through oil painted portraits and experimenting with composition.

Contact Information


Media Relations Office

198 College Hill Road 
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4680 pr@hamilton.edu
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