A Declaration of Faith
Emily Hyde ’12, recipient of a Princess Grace Award, and Associate Professor Rose Bond, who was an award recipient as a student and who nominated Hyde, talk about art and responsibility—and about the gratitude that motivates it all.
Intermedia student Emily Hyde ’12 is one of a select few students across the nation to receive this year’s Princess Grace Award. The award, which comes with a $25,000 purse, is distributed annually to students of theater, film, dance and choreography to help finance a significant art project or pursuit. Hyde’s award will go towards her BFA thesis project, a sixty-minute high definition film that will include both animation and live image.
PNCA faculty member Rose Bond, who was herself a Princess Grace Award winner as a graduate student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989, nominated Hyde for the award. Bond was also awarded the coveted Princess Grace Statue Award by the Foundation in 2008 and will receive a Special Project Award from them this year. The Foundation has a long history of identifying excellence in the performing arts: playwright Tony Kushner, directors Anna D. Shapiro and Greg Mottola, dancers Gillian Murphy and Ethan Stiefel and choreographer Dominic Walsh are all past recipients.
“It’s a good crowd to be among – look at the people they’ve funded,” explains Bond, “But the best thing is: they offer opportunities for sustained support. They don’t forget you.”
The title of Hyde’s thesis work, Biała Noc, which is Polish for “white night,” refers to those evenings in polar latitudes when twilight passes directly into dawn without night. In her film, Hyde will revisit paintings that she loved as a child—“luminous works,” she calls them—elaborating, stretching and embroidering upon their memory and influence. The project attempts to reintroduce sensuality and materiality into the experience of awe through sound, color and light. The geometries of a carpet, one of the central motifs in the film, will evolve into fantastical settings, including the underwater kelp forests in California and a Byzantine procession in an abandoned cathedral in Indiana.
While the roots of her project extend as far back as her childhood, a more immediate impetus for Hyde’s thesis was a conversation with PNCA Intermedia professor Anne-Marie Oliver, with whom she took the class “Art and Religion”:
“Anne-Marie asked me to identify where I saw the nexus between art and religion,” Hyde recounts. “She described a nexus as a bridge, linking two separate things. But I couldn’t see a separation. I realized I couldn’t distinguish between art and religion.”
She elaborates: “I’m not religious, but I’m an artist. When you are an artist, you are a believer in something. You have to believe in something. It’s a very primitive emotion.”
Drawing inspiration from artists and thinkers like Wilhelm Worringer, Christopher Alexander and Rudolf Otto, Hyde hopes to use her thesis project to examine the idea of the holy and of the invisible space around and between objects and people. Her work will touch on themes of awe and dread, of fear, of ecstasy and of pity.
“I see this project as the beginning of a lifelong preoccupation with the theme of pity and transformation through pity. Pity, I believe, was the human’s first art,” Hyde explains. “It was first activated through sacrifice. To give, one first has to understand taking.”
“I don’t do this for myself,” Hyde says. “I have a fundamental need to communicate to the world, to the people in my life, and my presence alone does not communicate what I need to say. I invest myself in something closer to poetry as a means of connecting.”
This year, that poetry will find expression in her thesis film, which Hyde describes as both sharp and dreamy. She spent the summer creating hand-made props and costumes, and finalizing shots and locations and is currently finishing the final shooting of the film.
“If it goes as planned, I will have failed,” says Hyde. “Putting hand to paper is a really complicated thing. It’s an experiment. It’s psychological and emotional. It’s about examining surface and depth.”
Hyde, who grew up in Estacada, Oregon, a small logging town on the Clackamas River, is also the recipient of the Dorothy Lemelson Scholarship, PNCA’s full ride scholarship. The Dorothy Lemelson Scholarship is awarded to one student who shows exceptional promise as indicated by academic history, admissions essays and portfolio. Renewable up to four years, this scholarship is for the full cost of attendance as determined by PNCA’s Financial Aid office.
Hyde began her time at PNCA as a printmaking major and later switched to Intermedia, after taking a Foundation time arts class. The class is devoted to exploring mediums in the fourth dimension such as sound, animation, video and performance. Hyde’s introduction to time arts was transformative.
“Moving from stillness to motion was incredible to me,” says Hyde. “I had always drawn still pictures. Now I see form and flux.”
Hyde found a close mentor in Intermedia and Animated Arts professor Rose Bond.
“When I watch Emily’s work, it’s compelling. Beautiful,” says Bond.
The Princess Grace Foundation is also funding the Research Phase of Bond’s current project: an original multi-windowed media installation for the Smithsonian Arts and Industries Building in Washington DC. Referencing the building’s historic past but not dwelling there, the piece will examine the evolving nature of knowledge, of iconic objects and, of the things we value. The building will be interpreted as a setting for incubation – a site with a story that extends from the past into the future.
“The Foundation offers special project grants to its alumni,” says Bond. “This is one thing that sets them apart from many grant organizations. They really take an interest in your career.”
“Receiving the Princess Grace award, it’s so very exciting,” says Hyde. “It’s a declaration of faith. To know that they believe in me, that they have confidence that I will follow through… it’s an incredible feeling.”
Hyde will travel to New York City in November for an awards dinner and who’s who cocktail party with the other recipients of the Princess Grace Award.
“Increasingly, I find that I operate almost entirely on gratitude,” says Hyde. “The people in my life … their presence in my life, and the fact that they receive me, fills me with an emphatic kind of love. I find inspiration from the people in my life, from my instructors. The support I’ve received through the school has been so critical.”
About the Princess Grace Foundation-USA:
The Princess Grace Foundation-USA is a not-for-profit, publicly supported foundation, headquartered in New York City and founded more than 25 years ago by Prince Rainier III of Monaco in honor of his wife, Princess Grace [Kelly]. The Foundation’s mission, that mirrors Princess Grace’s in Her lifetime, is to support emerging artists in theater, dance and film through the awarding of scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships. Since the Foundation’s inception, more than 700 Awards have been given to recipients, totaling more than $8.5 million.