Once again, scholarships were given to two artists through the Ohio Designer Craftsmen during their Winterfair Scholarship Program. This is just another support system that ODC offers to artists wanting to further their artistic careers. It stimulates and encourages emerging artists in developing their craft and gives them a forum for the public to see who they are and what they can accomplish.
The past year's recipients were Lisa Belsky and Erinn Bessler and both had the chance to exhibit at Columbus Winterfair. Commenting on the program, ODC Artistic Director Betty Talbott had this to say: "We're happy to continue the program and give more young artists the opportunity to participate in a large-scale fair with our support."
After receiving her BFA from the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, Belsky completed her MFA at Ohio State University in 2008. Her academic work specialized in ceramics but she does not consider herself strictly a ceramics artist. She states, "Making jewelry has always been an outlet for me. It allows me to explore materials, concepts and new techniques within the parameters of a smaller scale." Belsky also shares a studio with two other ceramic artists and maintains a metalsmithing studio. She teaches beginning metalsmithing classes at Byzantium. She is also one of the founding members of ARTillery Ohio; a program of Allied Arts sponsored by the South Campus Gateway and the Arts Initiative of OSU.
Erinn Bessler graduated from the CCAD in May of 2009. Not sure of her life path she almost left the college after her freshmen year. However, after only three weeks into the glassblowing she says, "I was into it!" Bessler went on to explain, "Even when I was still making lumpy things, I was telling people I was going to be a glassblower." She was right because in December she took a job as a full-time glassblower at Crystal Traditions in Tiffin, Ohio. She is the shop demonstrator for visitors.
Bessler admits that participating in Winterfair, "was a good experience...You don't realize how much goes into the show. The artists were very friendly, very helpful." Both artists feel that the ODC scholarship has put them in a wonderful support system with knowledgeable people who truly want to help them get started. Belsky went on to add, " Winterfair was a success for me in terms of exposure, feedback, connections and sales. I learned a lot and I was given a chance to test the waters with minimal risk. Now the challenge is to keep the momentum going!"
To learn how you can apply for the Winterfair Scholarship Program for 2010 please contact the Ohio Designer Craftsmen at (614) 486-4402. Or visit their site online: www.ohiocraft.org