School of Art + Design announces the 2018 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize winners
Author: Mary McVein, School of Art + Design
Posted: June 28, 2018

Lauren Moran, Talk to Everyone and Everything About Race in Hood River OR, 2018. Project in collaboration with Lisa Jarrett and Amanda Evans (Photo credit: Lisa Jarrett)


Announcing our 2018 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize Recipients

The School of the Art + Design and the College of the Arts is pleased to celebrate the sixth year of the Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize at Portland State University and we couldn't be more proud to present this year's honorees.

The Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize is the single most important award offered in the school. It acknowledges the achievement and promise of our students and is an important expression of the school’s values and commitment to excellence in higher education in the arts.

As has been the custom, a jury comprised of PSU Art + Design faculty and representative professionals from the art and design community reviewed 43 highly competitive applications from art and design undergraduate and graduate students to awarded first, second and third place prizes to the top students.

This year MFA student LAUREN MORAN (First Place $5,500), Undergraduate Art Practice Senior ALEX DEETS (Second-place $4,000), and 3rd year Art Practice BFA student, ZACH WHITWORTH (Third Place $3,000), have been selected as the 2018 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize recipients. Jury commendations went undergraduate BFA Art Practice students Melissa McGhie and Kayla Wiley.

An exhibition will be held on campus in the fall of 2018 to showcase the work of Moran, Deets and Whitworth.

The Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize was created in 2013 with a gift from the Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation to recognize the achievements of School of Art + Design students, raise awareness of the quality of art education at PSU, and to honor Arlene Schnitzer, a devoted and inspired leader of art and culture in Portland. The endowed award ensures that each year three aspiring artists and designers will receive significant recognition and a financial leg-up as they begin their careers as active, creative practitioners.

We extend our gratitude to our jurists:
Alison Heryer, Assistant Professor of Art Practice at PSU
Kate Bingaman-Burt, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at PSU
Lisa Jarrett, Assistant Professor of Art Practice at PSU
Jordan Hoagbin, Brand Designer at NIKE and 2013 Arlene Schnitzer Visual Arts Prize recipient
Kelsey Snook, Creative Director at Second Story Interactive Studios
Ashley Stull Meyers, The Robert and Mercedes Eicholz Director and Curator of the Art Gym and Belluschi Pavillion at Marylhurst University
Sarah Meigs, Founder of the Lumber Room


About the artists

Lauren Moran, Scores for a Block Party, 2017. Photo credit: Anupam Singh.

LAUREN MORAN (First Place, $5,500)
Lauren Moran thinks the most exciting part about having a social practice is that they are able to put relationships at the forefront of their artistic concerns. They create interdisciplinary projects that are often participatory, collaborative and co-authored, aiming to experiment with and question the systems we are all embedded in by organizing situations of connection, openness and non-hierarchical learning. They are interested in developing sites for accessibility and an expanded notion of institutional critique.

Moran is an MFA candidate in the Art and Social Practice program at PSU, a member of the collective Public Annex and performs experimental music as soft fantasy and p.o.e. They have recently presented work at the Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), a neighborhood block party (Portland, OR), Greensboro Project Space (Greensboro NC), Abteilung für Alles Andere (Berlin Germany), Art in Odd Places (New York, NY), Disjecta (Portland, OR), Port City Gallery (Portland, OR), and the El Paso Museum of Art (El Paso, TX). 





Alex Deets, Passages, 2018. Video collage still, excerpts of Lady Russell Bates Simpson from Stranded in Canton by William Eggleston.


ALEX DEETS (Second Place, $4000)
As a transgender artist from a working-class background, Alex Deets is naturally drawn to investigating relationships of power, privacy and incongruence. Working with sculptural installation, video collage, text and coded materials, they pull from personal narratives to test the boundaries of the liminal. By fragmenting and layering a constructed queer temporality, Deets toys with the expectations of the body and its subjection. Grids of their fingerprint continually reoccur in their work as a way to question the institutionalization of the body. Deets’ current project, Passages, questions the multiple definitions of what a passage can be. The project became an embodiment of the tension of an identity entangled in an administrative pressure to assimilate while struggling to find reflections of a historical trans narrative.

Deets is an interdisciplinary artist living in Portland Oregon. Their preferred medium is disruption. Their work is informed not only by growing up queer and working class in the Mississippi Delta, but also by coming of age as a queer youth during the AIDS crisis of the 80’ and 90’s. Deets draws from the generational and historical gaps in queer and trans histories created by the AIDS crisis and political suppression of identities outside of the cis-heteronormative binary. Deets has lived in Memphis Tennessee, Kansas City Missouri, Portland Oregon, Brooklyn New York and often in between places as they searched for an elusive ideation of ‘home.’ They have exhibited work at The Cleaners at Ace Hotel, Ristretto Roasters, Portland Museum of Modern Art and participated in the art collective Subject to Change in New York City. Their work has been featured on the cover of Bitch Magazine and in Alien She/Personal Best zine collection. They are a 2018 Bachelor of Fine Arts candidate at Portland State University.




Zach Whitworth, And I slept alone that night, 2017. Video still (city at night with subtitle). Duration: 14 min. 25 sec. 


ZACH WHITWORTH (Third Place, $3000)
Zach Whitworth asserts, “Modern technology is accelerating history, and I don’t think we fully know how to cope with it. The iPhone and major social media platforms have only been around for about a decade, so we’ve barely had time to grasp how this rapidly changing way of life has impacted us.” Hoping to figure it all out, Whitworth studies digital documentation, histories, communication, and information, considering how these have affected the human condition and altered senses of self and community. He wants to set examples promoting honesty in communication, context-based understandings, and connection with others.

Whitworth is a researcher and conceptual artist trying to navigate contemporary life. He has published both physical and Internet-based projects, typically exhibiting through emerging art spaces and platforms. Though often using digital methods, his work is not attached to any particular media. Whitworth has co-founded several online pseudo-institutions including the web-journal OZONE, the Museum of Digital Endearment, and Apparition Gallery. His work was most notably represented at the São Paulo, Brazil pavilion Homeostasis Lab as part of The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale 2017-18. Whitworth technically completed a minor degree in Art History at Southern Oregon University and is currently pursuing a BFA in Art Practices at Portland State University.