Paige Ward (MFA Ceramics ‘17) will attend Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee for a year long ceramics residency to develop her personal studio experience.
“I am both excited and blessed to have been given the opportunity to participate in this residency,” Ward said. “Not to mention that the Arrowmont Residency is very well known and has a great reputation in the ceramics field.”
Ward said that when she was younger, she had wanted to be a high school arts teacher in her home county of Crockett County, Tennessee, thanks to her high school art teacher Ms. McDaniel. However, while in undergrad at Union University, she noticed her dreams had changed.
“I realized that though teaching was something I felt called to do,” Ward said. “I learned that I was also called to be an artist myself and that meant pursuing graduate school for an MFA."
Ward is no stranger to Arrowmont. While building her portfolio for graduate school, she interned there as an educational assistant student during the summers of 2009 to 2011.
“During the previous summers that I worked at Arrowmont, I developed both professionally and artistically. It gained a special place in my heart because of its people and nurturing community,” Ward said.
When Ward was working as a studio assistant at Arrowmont in 2011 with a resident at the time, Chandra DeBuse (UF MFA Ceramics ‘10), Ward remembered telling her how she wished she could go to UF for grad school.
“Chandra said, ‘Well go there then,’ I said to her, ‘Well, I can't just go there. I have to get in first! It is a very competitive program,’” Ward said. “I would have never imagined that six years later, I would in fact have my MFA from UF.”
Though Ward chose UF based off the reputation of its ceramics program, she still took advantage of the different opportunities Gainesville has to offer. She was president of the UF Ceramics clay club, HOT Clay, as well as a singer in the Westside Baptist Church choir. She was also a graduate teaching assistant and instructor of Record for 3D Concepts and Ceramics: Throwing for Non-Majors.
“The sense of community during my visit was just contagious and I wanted to be a part of it,” Ward said.
While at Arrowmont, Ward will work both individually and with the four other emerging artists across various disciplines as well as have the opportunity to work in galleries and studios. The residency provides a venue and audience for viewing the residents work.
“The people at Arrowmont, the studios, the mission, the mountains, all are beautiful,” Ward said. “And I will be just up the road from Dolly Parton, my hero. That's just a cherry on top of the whole thing.”