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Windgate Backs New Textiles Grad

Windgate Backs New Textiles Grad

Textiles major Elizabeth Schweizer 19 TX will advance her work with Lakota youth thanks to a 2019 Windgate Fellowship from the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design.

Fellowship support from the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design will help fiber artist Elizabeth Schweizer 19 TX participate in several residencies after graduation.

For Elizabeth Schweizer 19 TX art education and studio practice both nurture self-expression and help build strong communities. As a Textiles major, she has explored these connections through ongoing social engagement and is in a good position to build on this experience now that she has earned a 2019 Windgate Fellowship from The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design in Asheville, NC.

A portion of Schweizer’s degree project installation

As one of 10 graduating seniors throughout the US to win the $15,000 award, Schweizer will focus on developing the La Plant Art Camp, a visual and performing arts program for Lakota youth living on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. The native New Yorker first volunteered to work with this indigenous community while in high school, an experience that helped her uncover an innate passion for teaching children.

At the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota

A knitter since early childhood, Schweizer describes her work as being “about bringing childhood mystery back to life through the accessibility of textile craft.” While at RISD she continued to work with Lakota youth in South Dakota every summer and in 2017 took advantage of a Social Innovation Fellowship (supported by RISD Careers and Brown University’s Swearer Center) to design a curriculum that connects kids of all ages with artists, cultural experts and other members of the community.

“I saw my role as creating a space where the kids I taught could develop local connections and relationships,” says Schweizer, who will use Windgate support to refine the La Plant Art Camp curriculum for teens and families. The fellowship will also open up several opportunities to advance her own work, including a fall artist residency at the Icelandic Textile Center in Blönduós, Iceland.

Although she admits that combining her passions for education and creative practice isn’t always easy, Schweizer is excited to keep exploring the possibilities as she makes the big transition from being a student to finding her place in the world.

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