Beverly Penn, art and design professor, was named 2017 State Three-Dimensional Artist of the year by the Texas State Legislature. A committee of experts narrowed down a list of nominees, and the winning artists received state-wide recognition.
The legislature appoints positions of state poet laureate, state musician, state two-dimensional artist and state three-dimensional artist. Among the artists recognized was George Strait, the “King of Country Music” and Texas State alumnus.
Anina Moore, director of communications at Texas Commission on the Arts, explained how artists are chosen for the award.
“We’re looking for people that are at the top of their field and who will represent Texas well,” Moore said. “Those are the things we ask the panel to consider as they score the nominations and then based on the size of the score, the highest scoring ten artists go onto the committee for consideration.”
Penn is an expert in three-dimensional art. She explores the contradicting need to idealize and modify the natural environment. Penn’s year-long term to represent Texas State’s artistic legacy began May 18 and will end May 17, 2018.
“I pick plants that are weeds and are of no interest to anyone. Casting them in bronze and turning them into something that is desirable is kind of an interesting irony for me,” Penn said.
Bruce Koach, studio art metals specialization senior, commended Penn on her use of bronze. Bronze can pick up tiny details other metals cannot, and give the artwork a realistic look.
“It’s pretty unique, first of all, it’s mostly cast bronze which not everybody does that. The set up takes a lot of space, it’s fairly expensive and its very high labor content work,” Koach said.
Penn is constantly involved on campus and pours dedication in everything she does, said Laritza Garcia, art and design lecturer.
“That’s something that we admire. She is such a great leader because we see her work ethic is so strong,” Garcia said. “She is making her personal artistic work. She’s involved in grant writing, she’s involved in the university and she’s a mom.”
Penn said she is always available before and after school and is willing to mentor students as much as possible.
“I don’t know if it’s mothering or mentoring, but it’s kind of this whole package of being a professional and also being very nurturing. That’s something she does really well,” Garcia said.
Penn said she acknowledges the fact that the arts are not well funded, and she appreciated the legislature for honoring her and showing appreciation for the arts.
“The legislature does what it can to honor and show appreciation for the arts,” Penn said. “They’re interested in acknowledging that the arts are critically important to our culture as a whole.”