Alexandra Collins selected for Anderson Ranch Arts Center Residency
July 26, 2023
Alexandra Collins (BFA ’24) is spending a week of her summer studying painting within the picturesque Snowmass Mountains in Aspen, Colorado. She’ll hone her craft as one of two undergraduate students selected for the all-expense-paid residency at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center.
For Collins, the opportunity is “life-changing.”
“I am absolutely bursting with gratitude and excitement,” Collins said. “It feels wonderful to have had my dedication to the medium pay off this way. I could not be more thankful or excited for this opportunity.”
Collins was selected for the scholarship after she received a nomination from the Stamps painting faculty at the end of the Fall 2022 term.
Classes like Where Do Paintings Come From? an advanced painting course taught by Jim Cogswell greatly impacted Collins’ practice. Collins says her studio practice “radically transformed” through cinematic lectures, slideshows, and one-on-one conversations, breaking down painting into its purest forms.
“I began to form deep inquiries surrounding how color, light, and form have the potential to influence space, which catapulted my work in a direction that it had never gone before,” Collins said.
This transformative experience resulted in her final piece titled “Superbloom,” an exquisite work of Oil on Canvas and Wood Panel.
“This work is the result of combined interests in organic and inorganic forms that function together simultaneously to establish an exuberant landscape bursting with visual stimuli,” Collins said.
Now, Collins can continue transforming her practice within the prestigious residency in a dream location. She plans to expand the content of her work, build upon her research methodologies, and investigate her intentions.
“I am the most excited to enhance my painting skills, become a better maker, and increase my ability to create complex imagery through this experience,” Collins said. “I am going to come back a changed person and artist, and I could not be more ready for it.”
The experience comes before Collins’ final year at Stamps. She reflects on her Stamps experience – full of dedication and perseverance. Due to severe pulmonary disease and being at high risk for COVID-19, Collins has had to prioritize her physical health and avoid many social gatherings at U‑M. This resulted in her spending more time in the studio and dedicating time to academics.
“This immense focus became incredibly fruitful for me and beneficial to the success of my work,” Collins said. “Investing myself completely in my studio practice became the only thing that kept me grounded – it was the shining light at the end of the tunnel.”
In her senior year, Collins will finally have her own studio in the Senior IP Course – something she’s looked forward to since completing the Stamps Summer Pre-College Program as a high schooler. Collins says her time in Colorado will most likely influence her thesis project.
It’s no secret that Collins is a passionate Stamps student – and she hopes to continue her passion for academics post-graduation. She is researching and applying to several master’s programs to pursue her dream of becoming a Professor in Art and Design.
“My heart is in the studio. I feel deeply that becoming a professor is my calling. I want to instruct and carry out my own research,” Collins said.
Collins says that the opportunities she has received at Stamps and her love for the community go hand-in-hand. This metaphorical “physics equation” is something that Collins will take with her in her future creative endeavors – in Colorado and beyond.
“I think having opportunities like this changes the lives of students, or at least I know it’s going to change mine,” Collins said. “The impact of students being seen for their knowledge and abilities is what drums up the next generation of leaders and go-getters – having someone say, ‘I believe in you, go do this’ lights a fire that can’t be extinguished.”