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Y. David Chung Honored with Rackham Master’s Mentoring Award

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Distinguished artist and educator Y. David Chung was honored with the 2024 Rackham Master’s Mentoring Award. Chung, a longtime Stamps faculty member who has spent years developing and enhancing the top-ranked MFA program, received the award at a ceremony on April 15

"Directing the MFA Program has been one of the highlights of my career,” said Chung.”It has been a richly rewarding experience working with such talented artists. I am constantly learning from them and inspired by their commitment and thought provoking work that challenge our ideas about society and offer new ways for creative studio production. I am glad that these students are achieving the national recognition that they deserve.”

Chung is a visual artist and filmmaker known for his films, multi-media installations, drawings, prints, and public artworks. He began his career as an animator and filmmaker, and his experiences ultimately led to installations combining new digital imaging technologies with traditional drawing and printmaking. 

In addition to this most recent honor, Chung has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowship in New Genres, the Washington Mayor’s Art Award, among others. He has been artist-in-residence at several universities, including Duke University, Williams College, Wellesley College, the University of California Berkeley, and the Whitecliffe College of Art and Design in Auckland, New Zealand. He has been commissioned to design permanent artwork for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority and the New York City Public Art Program.

Chung’s faculty colleague, Professor Nick Tobier, nominated him for the award, writing:

One of David’s most impressive qualities is his commitment to fostering an inclusive and supportive learning environment for students of various backgrounds and disciplines. His approach transcends traditional medium boundaries, allowing him to connect and guide students across diverse creative practices. In the studio, David’s mentorship goes well beyond the transmission of technical skills. He centers his engagement with the students by developing their critical thinking and problem-solving skills, all while inspiring a strong work ethic. David’s guidance further extends to the cultivation of a holistic understanding of the creative process; he encourages students to seek out innovation and provocation.”
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During his time as director, the Stamps MFA program has become one of the top 10 academic programs of its kind in the country. Chung plays a pivotal role in reviewing each applicant and developing the curriculum. He also ensures that leading artists and innovators regularly attend workshops and critiques with students to deepen their knowledge and expand their creative practice. Stamps MFA student Krista Sheneman experienced the value of Chung’s mentorship during her two years in the program.

As a second-year MFA student, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing Y. David Chung’s support first-hand,” said Sheneman. His immense knowledge base expertise, coupled with his dedication to the arts, underscores his commitment to my growth and success. He consistently invests his time, wisdom, and support into nurturing both my creative and professional development. Beyond academic instruction, his mentorship extends to advocacy for MFA students within institutional contexts that may not fully comprehend the intricacies of artistic creation. His endeavors to bridge this gap between institutional expectations and the realities of creative practice have proven pivotal in fostering connections within these scholarly networks. Through his generous facilitation of opportunities, including introductions to key figures and numerous letters of recommendation, he has been instrumental in helping me navigate these sometimes daunting academic and professional spheres.”

Chung’s body of creative work is significant. It has been exhibited across the country and internationally, including a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Gwangju Biennale, the Tretyakov Gallery of Art (Moscow), and the Williams College Museum of Art. However, he remains committed to fostering the next generation of acclaimed artists at the Green Road studios, which houses the Stamps MFA Program. 

"For Rackham to acknowledge David's dedication to the Stamps MFA program is an important milestone in his long career," said Dylan AT Miner, Senior Associate Dean for Research Creative Practice, and Graduate Education at Stamps. "David's championing of graduate education has positively helped to develop contemporary artists and other creative professionals who are leaders in their fields."