Sculpture Alumna Simin Eivazi Named 2013 Jack Kent Cooke Arts Awardee

Simin Eivazi (BFA Sculpture 2013)

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced in June that recent CCA alumna Simin Eivazi (BFA Sculpture 2013) was one of 20 scholars selected to receive the Graduate Arts Award for 2013.

The award provides each Jack Kent Cooke Scholar with funding up to $50,000 per year for up to three years to support graduate studies in visual arts, performance, or creative writing at accredited institutions in the United States or abroad.

The awardees represent four percent of the total applications, which this year numbered 449 submissions from 43 states. Of these, 131 students were nominated from 92 universities to advance to the finalist pool.

Program Mentorship

Jack Kent Cooke Scholars go through a rigorous two-stage application process in addition to applying to their chosen graduate program. Eivazi credits the support and mentorship of CCA Sculpture faculty as being instrumental to her success on both fronts:

Linda Fleming made me believe in magic. Brian Conley showed me the power of self-determination. Michael Swaine embraced my diversity. Allison Smith enlightened me to be. This award is a result of the seeds such incredible people planted into my imagination.”

Those seeds are taking root as Eivazi begins her graduate studies in the Art and Politics program at Goldsmiths, University of London. She says she was drawn to study at Goldsmiths for “the college's ethos, the program's interdisciplinary focus, and for what I identified as an opportunity to bolster the critical arts training I received from CCA's Sculpture Program with a rigorous and strong foundation in political theory and praxis.”

Personal Equals Political

For Eivazi, “the personal is political,” and the slippage between the two is at the heart of her work. After moving to the United States from Tehran, she found her sense of belonging shaken; no longer able to self-identify as solely American or Iranian, she cites as the motivation for her art practice her experience of negotiating her sense of self between these two often politically opposed identities.

“Our lives are consciously and unconsciously affected by the surrounding social and political world. As an emerging artist, I feel it my responsibility to use my art to address such matters," says Eivazi. “Studying Art and Politics at Goldsmiths will help me to gain a better understanding of the political world around me, and to develop the skills to effectively express my concerns regarding that domain.”

Eivazi’s work combines sculpture and performance to navigate these internalized tensions, addressing global issues such as women’s oppression, religion, invasion, war, fear, and loneliness without losing the closeness and particularity of the personal.

She looks forward to expanding the scope and depth of her practice as she finds new artistic community in London.

CCA Sculpture Program chair Allison Smith comments, "We are exceedingly proud of Simin, whose emerging artistic practice exemplifies the core CCA values of community engagement, social justice, and diversity. She is a role model to our current and incoming students, demonstrating what amazing things students can do with a degree in Sculpture."

About the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established by Jack Kent Cooke to help exceptionally promising students reach their full potential through education. Launched in 2000, the foundation focuses on students with financial need.

About the Graduate Arts Awards

Applications are being accepted from October through November 2013 for the 2014 Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Arts Awards.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be seniors or have graduated from an accredited four-year US college or university within the past five years
  • have a bachelor's degree by the start of the fall 2014 semester
  • have plans to begin their first graduate degree in the visual arts, performing arts, or creative writing at an accredited institution in fall 2014
  • have earned a 3.2 or higher GPA
  • demonstrate unmet financial need

CCA students and recent graduates should visit the award website and contact fine-arts-undergrad@cca.edu for more information on how to prepare an application.