Spencer museum seeks submissions for creativity awards

LAWRENCE — The Spencer Museum of Art is soliciting submissions for the second annual Jack and Lavon Brosseau Creativity Awards. Benefactor Lavon Brosseau established the prizes to celebrate undergraduate students at the University of Kansas who engage in creative scholarly work in any discipline.

Two Brosseau Creativity Awards are given, one each in the categories of writing and diverse media. The categories are deliberately defined in very broad terms, in order to encourage a wide range of submissions from the full spectrum of academic pursuits.

“The best creative work in any field evidences risk-taking and reflection, provides new insights, forms a part of critical thinking and generates new ways of understanding,” says Celka Straughn, the Spencer’s Andrew W. Mellon Director of Academic Programs. “This is what we seek in applicants for Brosseau Creativity Awards.”

Submissions to both categories are due 4 p.m. Friday, March 16. An interdisciplinary review committee determines the honored projects. Awardees for each category will receive cash prizes of approximately $500. The selected projects also may be considered for publication in The Register, the Museum’s scholarly journal.

For more information and to submit work for consideration, please visit the Spencer’s website.

Lavon Brosseau, a former high-school teacher from Concordia, strongly believes in education and in the profound importance of teaching. “There is a deep and almost sacred beauty in literature and in art,” Brosseau says. “Each may deal with the abstract and each may involve interpretation, but each has its own reality that permits the mind to explore and to soar.”

In 2011, a haunting short story by an architectural engineering student and a proposal for a multi-layered sonic installation by a music composition and theory student earned the inaugural awards. Click here for the 2011 award-winning entries.

“Collaborative work is especially encouraged, in line with the Museum’s commitment to bring together diverse people and ideas around a central topic or object,” Straughn says. “These awards form part of the SMA mission to strengthen, support, and contribute to the academic research and teaching at KU, as well as to foster interdisciplinary exploration at the intersection of art, ideas, and ex­perience. The Spencer’s contemporary vision is to present its collection as a living archive that motivates creative work, object-centered research and teaching, and transformative public dialogue.”

The Spencer Museum of Art houses an internationally known collection that is deep and diverse, currently numbering approximately 38,000 artworks and artifacts in all media. The collection spans the history of European and American art from ancient to contemporary, and includes broad and significant holdings of East Asian art. Areas of special strength include medieval panel painting and religious sculpture; the Kress Study Collection of early modern Italian painting; 19th-century American art and material culture; old master prints; photography; European, East Asian, and Indian textiles; American Indian pottery, beadwork, and jewelry; African sculpture; Japanese Edo-period prints; and 20th-century Chinese painting.