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We Are Knox...

Katie Bell '08

Professional Artist

Studio Art Major, Race and Gender Studies Minor

Katie Bell '08 is one of several recent Knox College art majors to attend
top-tier MFA graduate programs and embark on promising careers as artists.
She was chosen to spend a year in residency at the Sharpe Foundation in New York, one of the most prestigious residencies in the art world. In March 2013, Bell was named one of the "8 Great Brooklyn Artists Under 30." According to Knox Associate Professor of Art Mark Holmes, Knox students "are consistently competing with graduates of major art schools on both coasts for the most selective opportunities. Over the last six years, 10 of our majors have been accepted into some of the most highly ranked MFA programs in the country. This is remarkable because art students from places like Knox just aren't expected to compete with students from major art schools or university BFA programs. I believe we are unique among our peer institutions." Learn more about Katie, in her own words.

What is the significance of being named one of the "8 Great Brooklyn Artists Under 30"?

Being named by Paddy Johnson as one of "8 Great Brooklyn Artists Under 30" has been great for the visibility of my work. Since moving to Brooklyn, New York, I have been working really hard on my work and pouring all of my energy into it, so it is nice to be recognized for it. I am honored to be included with the other artists on the list, whose work I really admire and respect. There are so many amazing artists living in Brooklyn, and it is really nice to feel like I am one of them. The honor just gives me encouragement to work even harder.

Tell us a little about what you've done since leaving Knox.
After finishing up my post-baccalaureate fellowship through the Knox Art Department, many changes, transitions, and adventures have taken place.

I departed Knox in 2009 and traveled to Providence, Rhode Island, to become part of the MFA Painting Program at the Rhode Island School of Design. I began the program working on the large-scale drawings that I began at Knox and further pursued more sculpture and installation work, which I had just started before leaving Galesburg.

My work transformed quickly in grad school, yet it continued to foster the body of work that I started in college.

At the end of the two-year program, my work exploded into sculptural wall installations as well as paintings on plaster forms.

I also have a blog which people can follow for all my news and things I am doing.

How did your post-baccalaureate fellowship at Knox help you?
The post-bac fellowship through Knox was a defining factor in developing my work as well as the highly influential, critical, and supportive art faculty and community at Knox. It allowed for the time and energy to be devoted to my art, and it made me realize it was something I wanted to pursue with full force.

What have you been doing since finishing graduate school?
Since graduating from RISD in June of 2011, I have shown my work at a number of venues including Mixed Greens Gallery in New York, Nudashank's summer venue in New York, 808 Gallery in Boston, PLUG Projects in Kansas City, Caldwell College in New Jersey, and ART Chicago with NEXT: New Insights Exhibition.

At the beginning of September 2011, I relocated to Brooklyn, New York, because I was selected as a fellow of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Program. This program gives you a studio space in Brooklyn for one year along with 16 other artists as a community.

The artists for the program are chosen by a distinguished group of New York-based artists and critics which include: Chuck Close, Cynthia Carlson, Robert Storr, Janet Fish, Philip Pearlstein, Phong Bui, Tara Donovan, and Mathew Deleget.

Since completing the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation's Space Program last August, a lot of transition has been taking place. I am now in a new studio in Sunset Park, Brooklyn sharing the space with another artist, Stefan Gunn.

In the last few months I have had work included in multiple shows -- "PAINT THINGS, beyond the stretcher" at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum (Lincoln, Massachusetts), "Contemporary Drawing Today" at the Fort Worth Drawing Center (Fort Worth, Texas), "Inside Voices" at Parallel Art Space (Brooklyn, New York), and "No Longer Presidents But Prophets" at Delicious Spectacle (Washington, D.C.), which was a group show curated by Knox alum Lauren Rice.

I also currently have work on display at Miscellany (Grand Rapids, Minnesota), which is a gallery and store run by Knox alum Alexa Hagen.

I thank the faculty in the Knox Art Department for all of their encouragement, support, and critical discourse. They continue to be lifelong friends and mentors.

Katie Bell in studio Katie Bell art