Michael Ashkin wins Watts Prize for Faculty Excellence

July 19, 2007

The Department of Art is pleased to announce that Michael Ashkin is the winner of the second annual Watts Prize for Faculty Excellence. The Watts Prize recognizes distinguished achievement in undergraduate teaching and honors dedication, concern for education, and demonstrated technical expertise in any artistic practice offered in the department curriculum. Mindy Watts (B.F.A. '03) established the prize for Cornell faculty in gratitude for her excellent education in Fine Arts. This year's award is $5,000 to support individual creative research.

Ashkin joined the Department of Art in 2006 as assistant professor of sculpture. He received the highest cumulative score among undergraduate course evaluations and several colleagues have expressed their admiration of his efforts in expanding the scope and criticality of the sculpture studios. 

Ashkin was born in Morristown, NJ, in 1955, and received an M.A. in Middle East Languages and Cultures from Columbia University and an M.F.A in Painting/Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Before becoming an artist, he worked in computer programming and investment banking. Ashkin's sculptures and photographs have been exhibited in many important museums and private galleries. His work was included in "Documenta 11," Kassel, Germany, in 2002, and in the 1997 Whitney Biennial. His work was also included in such distinguished alternative exhibit spaces as the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Exit Art, White Columns, P.S.1, and the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. Ashkin received a 2000 Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship at Marfa, Texas, and has also been awarded grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

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