May 2012 - Student of the Month - Gabriella D'Italia

Gabriella D'Italia, a Master of Fine Arts in Intermedia student is the May, 2012 Graduate Student of the Month.

Graduate School: Where are you from originally? 

D'Italia:  Morristown, New Jersey

Graduate School:  What undergraduate institution(s) did you previously attend?

D'Italia: St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland

Graduate School:  Why did you choose to attend UMaine?

D'Italia: I have lived in Maine for ten years and want to continue living and working here. I want to build relationships with my community through the University.  The Intermedia MFA program is the only one of its kind in Maine, and I view the interdisciplinary approach to research as a direct continuation of my undergraduate work and necessary to a working art practice. 

Graduate School:  What degree program are you pursuing? 

D'Italia: An MFA in Intermedia.

Graduate School:  What are your plans after graduation? 

D'Italia:  I will continue to make work in my field.  This includes conducting creative research and presenting that research in professional venues.

Graduate School:  What do you consider your most important accomplishment here so far? 

D'Italia:  The University of Maine has allowed me to connect with people, students, professors, and working artists that enrich and enable my work.  I hope to sustain those relationships and engagements beyond graduation.  I’ve had several professional successes, including exhibiting at one of Maine’s leading contemporary art venues, The Center for Maine Contemporary Art.  The University has validated my work in a couple of respects. The Collins Center for the Arts commissioned two of my wall-mounted textile works for their building. Most recently, I was awarded the 2011-2012 Chase Distinguished Research Assistantship in support of my thesis research.

Graduate School:  What is the highlight of your academic experience so far?

D'Italia:  Working with artists who have come to lecture, teach, and advise at the University, most notably Randy Regier.

Graduate School:  What is your favorite place on campus?

D'Italia:  I like the old, brick buildings, like Chadbourne. I had the opportunity to go through the seemingly abandoned Holmes Hall, a fellow graduate student, Abigail Stiers, produced and installed work there. It was enchanting – but perhaps I was influenced by her work.

Graduate School:  What awards or other significant recognition (both on or off-campus) have you received since beginning your degree program?

D'Italia:  In addition to receiving multiple Graduate Student Government Grants and Intermedia Research and Project Grants through the University, I’ve also received the Ana Mendieta Memorial Fellowship and the Chase Distinguished Research Assistantship.  I received a Maine Arts Commission Good Idea Grant in 2010.

My work has been exhibited locally and nationally.  Most notably I was accepted into the International Quilt National ’09 Biennial and included in their publication; I received Honorable Mention at National Fiber Directions (2009); and I worked as part of a collaborative group on a project “An Ordinal of Alchimy” for Cabinet Magazine in Brooklyn, NY.  I was included in an invitational triennial at the University of Maine Museum of Art, and the CMCA biennial exhibition.  I had a solo exhibition at Aarhus Gallery in Belfast, Maine and this fall, my work is part of a two-person exhibition at the CMCA in Rockport.

I have received two residency positions, one as a fellow at Mildred’s Lane in Pennsylvania under artists Mark Dion, Robert Williams, and J. Morgan Puett. The other, I served as the Textiles Artist in Residence at Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago for 2011.

I’ve been included in a handful of publications: I was featured in the Emerging Artists Showcase in Fiberarts Magazine, (summer 2011). I was included in Maine Home and Design Magazine’s April 2011, Annual Art Issue. I was interviewed in an article for titled Merging Intellect and Aesthetic. There have also been reviews for my most recent shows, a group show at Rose Contemporary in Portland, and Pieced at CMCA:  “Pieced” at CMCAby Britta Konau, October 2011

 Art Review: New Contemporary Gallery Makes Impressive Debut, by Daniel Kany for The Portland Press Herald, September 2011

Graduate School:  What other important information about yourself would you like us to know?

D'Italia:  I’m very thankful for the opportunities that being at the University has offered me and for the support of the faculty, especially Dr. Owen Smith and Sheridan Kelley, and for the other students in my program with whom I look forward to continue working.