2017 Recipient Elizabeth Denneau
Greetings, my name is Elizabeth Denneau and I am a student from the University of Arizona pursuing my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education and 2D Studio Arts. I am passionate about growing our arts community here in Tucson Arizona, particularly when it comes to youth. I spent a good portion of my adult life working in group homes with teens in crisis and exposing them to the power of artistic creativity and critical thinking. I also volunteered as a teaching artist and mentor for a local all-age youth venue called Skrappys where I worked with young graffiti artists and developed a DIY fashion design class. After working in the child welfare and non-profit sector, I decided I wanted to learn more about art technique and also teach art in public/museum settings which brought me to the university. I have been working as a youth teacher at the Museum of Contemporary Art in my city as I attend classes. I enjoy passing on techniques I am learning about in my studio classes to the youth that come to the museum.
In my personal artistic practice, I am continually influenced by narratives of human perseverance, vulnerability, and power dynamics. Most everything I do, be it sculpture, or fashion, or painting or printmaking is very figurative and stylized. I 'm not a naturalist. I work a lot with patterns and limited palates. I also love to play with assemblage and textures. Even my 2D works have elements of 3D materials. My work tends to be dark, and driven by imagery and symbolism concerning intersectional issues.My work resides in a lot of creative mediums. Each new one I learn brings another piece of my creative self into focus and provides new opportunities. I want to be a truly prolific artist.
I feel I can relate to Trevor Coopersmith’s story and drive. I too have worked many jobs and take commissions as a working artist to afford college. I am inspired by the generosity of his scholarship and plan to give back myself when I have graduated possibly doing something similar. This scholarship would help pay for art supplies required for my classes, books, and several qualification tests I must take to become a teacher through my program, as well as, the cost of my teaching certificate.
My hope is that my artwork and teaching inspires others, particularly minority communities and underserved youth, to share their stories. I feel these are important narratives that often get dismissed due to fear or distorted for propaganda. As I focus my artworks and lessons on the rich narratives of these communities my hope is that they will be able to see themselves better represented in the art world and be inspired to create their own works. I’m not interested in creating patrons; I’m interested in creating other artists.