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The 2021 Department of Art student award recipients announced; Hamblet, DeLoach, Plaza, and Mid South

Posted by on Monday, May 3, 2021 in News and Events.

The Vanderbilt University Department of Art proudly announces the recipients of the Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award and the Merit Award for 2021 are Emily Kopec and Cayla B. Mims

Emily Kopec, photo courtesy of the artist
Emily Kopec is the 2021 recipient of the esteemed  $25,000 Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award.

Emily’s exhibition titled, Merely, features a constellation of work created from recycled clothing and wearable materials.  

Kopec describes her show: Merely explores an unquantifiable human presence that questions the viewer’s relation to themselves and others. Influenced by critical theorists such as Hegel, Adorno, and Horkheimer, the artist uses sculptural forms to question instrumental rationality; within each sculpture it is unclear how many bodies are represented, and how those bodies relate to the body of the viewer. This disruption of instrumental reason, the inability to identify the quantity or identity of the bodies in the way typically experienced when one encounters another, evokes feelings of loss, confusion, humor, and reconnection.

Emily Kopec (New Jersey, 1999) is a conceptual artist who uses recycled clothing and household objects to explore the deconstruction and reconstruction of bodily forms through material. Her work is informed by her studies in German and Psychology, and by her Austrian heritage. Kopec will receive her BA in Studio Art, Psychology, and German Studies from Vanderbilt University in 2021.

Cayla B. Mims, photo courtesy of the artist
Cayla B. Mims is the 2021 recipient of the $10,000 Merit Award

Cayla’s exhibition features four large mixed media paintings on paper.

Home is an installation of 4 large-scale multimedia collages centered around unearthing family narratives embedded in a piece of land outside Jackson, Mississippi. The work addresses the complex legacy of struggle, both historical and contemporary, on land held in my family for three generations. While Home features my family, the injustice, corruption, and power struggle it relates is the story of many Black American families. Using figurative painting and drawing, portraiture, and text, I convey the sociopolitical nuances that define the layered history of this land and the emotive ways I am navigating this narrative as both artist and inheritor.

Cayla B Mims is a visual artist from Illinois. Influenced by her studies in Sociology and Studio Art, she uses painting, portraiture, autobiographical text and ephemera to synthesize sociological frameworks, her intersectional identity, and a passion for activism and positive representation of Black and Brown people. She will receive her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Vanderbilt University in May 2021.

inseparable: Senior Show 2021 features the capstone exhibitions from the four graduating senior art majors: Emily Kopec, Cayla B. Mims, Julia Nahley, and Colleen Rose McHugh. Each exhibition (currenlty installed in Space 204) is viewable virtually at 

In additoin to the Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award competition, the students enrolled in ARTS classes are also eligible for several prizes sponsored by Plaza Artist Materials (Nashville, TN), Mid South Ceramics Company (Nashville, TN), and the Allan P. DeLoach Prize in Photography.  These awards are selected by outside jurors.

Mid-South Ceramics Award Winners:
Annie Mullins
Courtney Megerian
Vincent Zhang

Plaza Award Winners:
Hannah Anderson
Greta Kowalski
Kevin Liu
Safia Mirza

DeLoach Prize in Photography:
1st Place: Taylor Hopkins
2nd Place: Ameenah McKnight
rd Place: Rachana Krishnan
Honorable Mention: Jacob Kim

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