Award of Excellence: $2,000
"When I am producing art, I am in my element. I am able to explore and stimulate a vital energy force from within myself, from within my environment, and from the things I create."
Rea Walsh considers making art a necessary outlet for feeding her creative appetite and fueling her passion for innovation and imagination. Trained as a metalsmith and jewelry designer, Walsh spent her college career welding steel sculptures, exploring geometric shapes in sculpture, and manipulating the surface texture of metal. Her senior thesis culminated in a series of metal sculptures of repeated forms and organic surface quality created by a combination of spray paint, water, and smoke.
Walsh's college experience was also greatly influenced by attending the Rochester Institute of Technology, which is home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. For the first time, Walsh was among other students with hearing loss and quickly became fluent in American Sign Language. In being immersed in the deaf community, Walsh states that she "blossomed in its dynamic atmosphere. As an artist and as a person with a hearing disability, I matured and strengthened my sense of self."
Walsh holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology.