Inaugural Mariposa Prize Winners
Thanks to the generosity of artist Hector Dionico Mendoza, an exciting new student award was established in spring 2021. The Mariposa Prize represents a collaboration between the Department of Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies and the Museum, and offers a new opportunity to celebrate the creative and inspiring work of Latinx students at the College.
We are delighted to announce that Jennifer Villa and Nicole Lara Granados have been awarded the inaugural Mariposa Prize for the class of 2021. The prize was established this spring as a collaboration between the Department of Spanish, Latina/o, and Latin American Studies (SLLAS), the artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza, and the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum (MHCAM). The Mariposa Prize represents an exciting new opportunity for Latinx students and celebrates their creative and inspiring work at the College.
The award was generously funded by artist Hector Dionicio Mendoza as part of his practice of public reciprocity and as a way to recognize the achievements of Latina/o/x students at Mount Holyoke College. The relationship between Mendoza and the College community is a result of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum’s acquisition of two of Mendoza’s artworks—Mariposa/Butterfly and Immigrant Shoes—both currently on display in a new installation at MHCAM.
The acquisitions themselves reflect a conscious and deliberate effort to diversify the Museum’s holdings. Eight faculty (Patricia Banks, Kimberly Juanita Brown, Iyko Day, David Hernández, Ren-Yo Hwang, Anthony Lee, Vanessa Rosa, and Lucas Wilson) participated in a faculty seminar organized by museum staff Stephanie Sparling Williams and Ellen Alvord during the 2019–2020 school year to learn about the acquisitions process and storage requirements of the Museum and, critically, to research and propose the purchase of artworks that could be used in the classroom to address issues of gender, race, colonialism and migration. In addition to Mendoza’s mixed media works, the Museum acquired six other artworks proposed by faculty, including pieces by Sanda Brewster, Tseng Kwong Chi, Mavis Pusey, Jes Fan, Post Commodity, and Wei Lang Tey.
After Mendoza proposed his student funding award, we devised a simple, interdisciplinary, and accessible competition for graduating Latinx seniors, following Mendoza’s wishes. Students were invited to apply for the prize by engaging with one or both of Mendoza’s sculpture/mixed media works and to provide a single page reaction. Students were given access to the artworks digitally. In addition, students on campus were invited to visit the Museum during weekly open hours to see the works in person. Applicant submissions could relate to personal and/or educational experiences at the College or thoughts about the future. Students were encouraged to use a format of their choosing such as a narrative analysis, poem, or other creative response for their submission.
The Mariposa Prize recognizes the extraordinary contributions of Latinx students to the College and helps to uncover and register their often unheard reflections at the time of College’s commencement activities. The prize also demonstrates the growing importance of the Museum’s role in educating and inspiring all students at the College.
¡Felicidades Nicole and Jen!
~ David Hernández, Associate Professor Latina/o Studies and Faculty Director of Community Engagement
~ Vanessa Rosa, Class of 1929 Dr. Virginia Apgar Assistant Professor of Latina/o Studies