Leslie King-Hammond Graduate Award

Incoming and returning students share their perspectives on diversity and creative discourse.

Inhairitance, Reshada Pullen

Broadening Community Perspectives

“I always made sure that all those people who thought they weren’t part of the opportunity to participate in the arts could find a way to become part of that experience,” said Leslie King Hammond, PhD, graduate dean emerita and founding director of the Center for Race and Culture at MICA. Her words are realized with the creation of the Leslie King Hammond Graduate Award. The inaugural award provides $5,000 to $10,000 to 11 incoming and five returning MICA students from various backgrounds, experiences, and groups who have been historically underrepresented in the fields of fine arts, design, and related practices. The scholarship supports the expansion of diversity in the College’s graduate community.

For the Leslie King Hammond Graduate Award, MFA, MA, and post-baccalaureate incoming and returning students shared their perspectives on diversity and how they will contribute to increasing critical and creative discourse. The awardees’ spectrum of achievements as artists, critics, designers, educators, makers, curators, scholars, and activists exemplifies the importance of diversity at the College and the greater Baltimore community through thought-provoking art and design.

The students’ words echo the lifelong work of artist, curator, author, and scholar King Hammond, as well as demonstrate diversity at MICA, an institution that underscores and celebrates diversity as a value central to the content and delivery of all of its programs, activities, and decisions. Awards such as this one not only showcase the depth of students’ expertise, but the mindfulness of these artists and designers as they use their work to push and explore social boundaries through the arts.

The following excerpts are from the 2015 award recipients:

Reshada Pullen ‘16
Art Education (Online/Low-Residency), MA

(See image above)


I paint positive images of black people because of the desperate need to see and self-identify with good. I create and promote images that communicate that black people have value. I combat tokenism and stereotypical tropes that flood our visual culture.


Taura Musgrove ‘17
Filmmaking, MFA

Nobody Else

After many years of working in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am looking forward to creating in my hometown of Baltimore. My film projects will explore what it means to be a woman of color in patriarchal societies.


Ji Won Song ‘16
Teaching, MA

From the series With Grandmother

I believe there is uniqueness in each culture’s art language. Art will have incredible influence once we notice the uniqueness within the diversity and start to understand and combine the strength of each artistic language.


Ume Hussain ‘17
Studio Art (Low-Residency), MFA

Sacred Space

My current work stems from the Muslim experience in a post 9/11 America, highlighting issues of otherness and loss of sacred space-a dialogue that seldom takes place. The growing chasm between facts and widespread misinformation has assisted in creating a highly polarized global community. In an attempt to address this gap, I am working with the causes of marginalization and investigating the cliches associated with the practices, beliefs and worldview that mold the unfamiliar.


David Deluty ‘16
Teaching, MA


As a Jewish Korean American, I am continuously shaping my definition of diversity. Adopted from Seoul, South Korea, into a white, Jewish household in Maryland, I tend to look at myself as “different.”


Alfonso Fernandez-Vazquez ‘16
LeRoy E. Hoffberger School of Painting, MFA


As a person of color, an immigrant, and first-generation college graduate, I have carried on with patience, courage, fortitude, and perseverance in the effort toward completing my Master of Fine Arts, attaining success for myself.


Alanna Rivera ‘17
Community Arts, MFA


Through exploring questions of cultural authenticity in Baltimore, I will not only grow as a person and as an artist, but I will also be better able to help underrepresented communities.