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MICA Names France-Merrick Community Arts Partnerships Fellows

The annual fellowships, worth $3,500 per student, recognize exemplary work, commitment, and dedication to Baltimore City communities

Posted 07.15.08 by Community Arts Partnership

"Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) senior Christina Cooke of Closter, N.J., and juniors Haniya Ghazaleh of Coppell, Texas, and Caroline Van Sicklin of Pound Ridge, N.Y., have been awarded France-Merrick Community Arts Partnerships Fellowships to conceive and implement community arts projects over the course of the 2008-2009 academic year.

The annual fellowships, worth $3,500 per student, recognize exemplary work, commitment, and dedication to Baltimore City communities through previous experience with MICA’s Community Arts Partnerships (CAP) program and new project proposals.

In most cases, the artists develop comprehensive lesson plans that support predetermined educational goals and outcomes; articulate a strategy that encourages participating individuals to try out, practice, and apply new skills, knowledge, and attitudes to real, art-based problems; and manage the on-site activities and responsibilities that relate to the project.

Caroline Van Sicklin ‘10, who is pursuing a bachelor of fine arts degree in photography and a master of arts in teaching degree through MICA’S 5-year dual degree program, will use her award to launch a partnership with a Baltimore hospital. Van Sicklin suffered severe asthma as a child and knows firsthand what it is like to spend time in hospitals. She will work with young patients to create public artworks.

“The children will create their own masterpieces and then be able to see their artwork on the walls of the hospital,” Van Sicklin said. “The hospital should be a comfortable place, and by installing their art, it will feel more homey. The patients will personally help to make it more comfortable and friendly.”

Van Sicklin has participated in the CAP program since the spring semester of her freshman year. She has taught a first-grade art class at Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School and an after-school art class for 5- to 8-year-olds at School 33 Art Center.

Haniya Ghazaleh ‘10, who is majoring in drawing (BFA), will use her fellowship to work with Baltimore’s Refugee Youth Project, which seeks to improve the lives of refugees ages 6-21 by supporting their academic needs and making their acculturation simple and meaningful.

“I am originally from Texas, a state heavily affected by immigration issues,” she said. “Although I am not an immigrant, I understand that language barriers can be difficult, and so I was interested in helping alleviate some of those issues in Baltimore.”

Ghazaleh will use the drawing medium to establish a common ground of non-lingual communication between her and the young refugees.

“My project will teach kids how to communicate with drawings, how to associate words and objects in English, and how to participate in American customs and ideas without forgetting or denying their heritage,” she said. “The drawings they make will reflect relationships between America and their home country by associating similar and dissimilar objects, but with using English letters.”

Ghazaleh will compile the drawings and publish them in book form.

She previously worked with a variety of Baltimore community populations, including young children (Enoch Pratt Free Library), adolescent girls (Good Shepherd Center), and senior citizens (Marlborough Apartments).

Christina Cooke ’09, who is pursuing a degree in fiber arts (BFA), will create an imaginary village in the form of a large, soft sculpture installation. MICA’s CAP interns and their clients will create the citizens for the piece, which will be installed during CAPfest in the spring.

Cooke has previously worked with the residents of Good Shepherd Center and Memorial and Marlborough apartments. In addition to her CAP work, she spent spring break ’07 working with displaced middle school students in New Orleans. That summer, she traveled as a missionary to Peru, where she worked with orphans living in a remote mountain village.

“I want to explore with my fellowship how art can go beyond just being something on a wall in a gallery,” Cooke said. “I am reconciling two parts of my life that are most important to me: being an artist and working in the community.”

The annual France-Merrick Community Arts Partnerships Fellowships provide financial support for MICA students engaged in community service through the College’s Community Arts Partnerships (CAP) program. Established in 1998 with funding from The Wallace Foundation, CAP involves students in community-based art projects in neighborhoods that are among the most economically and culturally challenged in Baltimore City. CAP projects have covered a wide array of visual arts, including murals, collage, puppetry, fabric art, costumes, book making, digital art, video, animation, photography, and photojournalism.

For more information about the fellowship winners, call 410-225-2300.