June 6, 2011A student who has created art out of trash cans and trailer trucks has been awarded a prestigious Jacob K. Javits Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education.
Piotr Chizinski (M.F.A. ’12), a photographer and sculptor from Falls Village, Connecticut, is the only Cornell student to win the Javitz fellowship for 2011. He is the second M.F.A. student from Cornell to have received the award.
Awarded annually to graduate students in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, the fellowship covers tuition and expenses and provides a $30,000 stipend. The award can be renewed for up to four years or until the fellow completes his or her degree.
"It gives me a leg up in terms of just being able to focus on my work," Chizinski says. "I hope it's going to be able to offer the ability to study abroad and allow my work to have a larger scope."
A B.F.A. graduate of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Chizinski grounds his artwork on research of sociology and the history of science from the 20th century. "I usually make pieces that get people to engage in that information or take part in what happened in the early 20th century," he says.
His most recent work, Centre for Calculation, created from a 40-gallon garbage can, evokes the eugenics movement and allows viewers to take a "breeding exam" developed from a 1914 aptitude exam.
In a collaboration with two Texas artists, Chizinski created the Nomadic Truck Gallery, a collection of boxes that unfolds inside a 28-foot truck to become a portable art gallery. The exhibit has traveled to art galleries and high schools in Texas and Arizona.