Catharine Balco of New Haven was honored at the University of Hartford's 53rd annual Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 16, with the Belle K. Ribicoff Junior Faculty Prize, which recognizes an outstanding junior faculty member - one who is on a tenure track position, but is not yet tenured. The prize is made possible by a generous gift from Belle K. Ribicoff, a University life regent.
Balco has been an assistant professor of painting and drawing at the University's Hartford Art School since 2007. Her course evaluations describe her as a teacher who pushes young artists beyond their comfort zones at times but with exhilarating results. As one student says, "I did things I probably would never have done with my art without this course."
The recipient of an artist's residency at the prestigious Josef and Anni Albers Foundation in Bethany, Conn., Balco has also been awarded a University grant to develop a service-learning initiative that will provide opportunities for students to engage in art forms that contribute meaningfully to the health field. In her proposal for the grant, she describes how students will work "as teachers or as artists working side-by-side with members of our community who are beset with illness or disability." Another Balco contribution to the Hartford Art School is her creation of the Drawing Marathon, in which students engaged in 12 straight hours of drawing. The drawings are then shown at the University's Silpe Gallery.
Balco has exhibited her own work in New York state and Connecticut. Her upcoming solo show of large-scale public works will open at Artspace in New Haven this summer.