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Coco Vonnegut ’13 works with international artists at Sculpture Space

By Upstate Institute on June 13, 2012
Coco Vonnegut '13 at the Sculpture Space facility

Coco Vonnegut ’13 is an Asian Studies and Studio Art double major at Colgate, and is participating in the Field School for the second summer.

Coco Vonnegut ’13 is a Field School Fellow at Sculpture Space this summer. Sculpture Space is an arts organization in Utica, New York that offers two-month residencies to visiting artists, in order to help advance their careers. Sculpture Space offers an opportunity for members of the community to interact with national and international visiting artists, and places work in the public domain.

Coco is an Asian Studies and Studio Art double major at Colgate, and is participating in the Field School for the second summer. Last year, she worked with the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, where she learned about qualitative data acquisition and developed interview skills as she helped the organization with marketing and visitor research. She used these skills during field work that she conducted in the fall of last year while on a study abroad in India.

This summer, she wanted to stay in the community again to continue building her field work skills, and hopes to apply for doctoral programs that incorporate intensive field work experiences. At Sculpture Space, she is helping to develop the arts administrative part of the organization by working on their programs, outreach ventures, and public relations initiatives. Sculpture Space brings in artists from around the country and the world and creates a cohesive arts community with them in Utica. Coco anticipates learning more about how communities are built from and for a diverse group of people, and says she is “hoping to learn how artist communities function and interact with the larger community, and how Sculpture Space incorporates internationalism into its community building.”

On a typical day at Sculpture Space, Coco is preparing for the many events that the organization holds each summer, like the Works in Progress Program which features the contemporary sculptures and installations in a rang of media by some of the artists currently in residency, and the Utica Monday Nights events. She interacts with artists as they are completing their residencies, and is interviewing them as part of an intern blog. She is also meeting with the artists at the office’s once-per-week tea. Overall, she is gaining a greater appreciation for the arts in Utica, where she sees how people of all nationalities are engaged in the downtown area and contribute to their culture.

“The city of Utica is incredibly diverse, and is imbued with art in some unlikely places,” says Coco. “Upstate New York is home to a bustling arts scene, and its nice to see from the inside that the entire community gets involved. From local lumber companies, to galvanizing corporations, to restaurants– organizations from all different types of industries are working hard to support the arts here. It’s refreshing and exciting to see the community work in this way.”

After spending one summer here, Coco says that “Upstate New York feels like home to me, and helping Upstate New York communities build themselves and grow is something I love to do. It’s both rewarding and exciting to get to know our region better, and I’m thrilled to be a Fellow again this summer.”


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