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Artist Nate Hodge Receives Lillian Fairchild Award

March 1, 2016
City and Sky. (Photo credit / Nate Hodge)

City and Sky. (Photo credit / Nate Hodge)

The Department of English at the University of Rochester named artist Nate Hodge as the recipient of the 2015 Lillian Fairchild Memorial Award, during a ceremony on Monday, Feb. 29.

The award is given annually to a local visual artist, writer, choreographer, or composer for his or her commitment to the arts in the Rochester community. In 2015, Hodge participated in WALL/THERAPY, a public art project that uses murals as a way to provide new life and energy to blank walls in downtown areas.

“We were particularly impressed with his mural ‘City and Sky’ on Atlantic Avenue and how it excels at Wall Therapy’s goal – using ‘mural art as a vehicle to address our collective need for inspiration, ‘” said Rosemary Kegl, chair of the English department and member of the Fairchild selection committee.

Hodge began working with WALL/THERAPY in 2015 after participating in several group shows at the 1975 Gallery in Rochester, which specialized in showcasing the work of up-and-coming local artists. He has a BFA from SUNY Brockport and an MFA from the University of Buffalo. Hodge currently lives and works in Brockport, N.Y., while he exhibits drawings and installations both locally and regionally.

“The most inspiring thing about public art is its ability to reach a wide spectrum of people,” said Hodge. “Outside of a gallery or museum there are few places you can encounter paintings or sculptures and I feel like only a small portion of the population is able to make time to visit these places. Public art exists on the periphery of everyday activities and democratizes a field that unfortunately can come off as elitist and exclusive.”

In the spring, Hodge will begin working on a large-scale mural in the University’s Memorial Art Gallery as a way to provide museumgoers with an “immersive painting they can step into rather than observe on a wall.” Visitors will also have the opportunity to watch the painting develop on site. No sketches will be available prior to the start of the project, as the indoor environment will dictate the creation of the mural. To date, this will be the sixth collaboration between WALL/THERAPY artists and the University.

Established by University of Rochester Professor Herman L. Fairchild in 1924, the Fairchild award is in memory of his daughter, an accomplished designer who died of tuberculosis at the age of 32. Previous awards have been given out to choreographer Garth Fagan, sculptor Albert Paley, and Pulitzer Prize- winning poet Anthony Hecht.

“I am honored to be included in a roster of distinguished artists and visionaries,” says Hodge. “It’s energizing and gratifying to have my efforts noticed and I’m channeling this energy to continue to move forward with my artistic explorations.”

For more information about WALL/THERAPY, including information on where to find Hodge’s murals in Rochester, visit http://www.wall-therapy.com/

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Category: The Arts