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American Craft Council names New Paltz art professor to 2009 College of Fellows

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Jamie Bennett, professor of Art in the Metal Program at the State University of New York at New Paltz, has been named to The American Craft Council’s 2009 College of Fellows and will be honored at a luncheon during American Craft Council’s leadership conference “Creating a New Craft Culture” in Minneapolis on Oct. 16.

This designation is among the prestigious Aileen Osborn Webb Awards, which honor those who have demonstrated outstanding artistic achievement, leadership and service in the craft field.

Bennett, an enamellist, is a three-time recipient of both the prestigious National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship and New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He has also received a Massachusetts Council for the Arts Fellowship. He received a Windgate Foundation Grant and Rotasa Grant in 2005 in recognition of his work. He was an Artist in Residence at Hiko Mizuno College of Jewelry in Tokyo in 2000 and at Istanbul Technical University in 2005.

One of the pre-eminent enamelists in the world, Bennett is known for his meticulous use of color and ornamentation. His work is in more than 20 permanent museum collections, including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City; the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and many pioneering exhibitions, such as Jewelry Moves at the National Museum of Scotland and New Times, New Thinking Jewelry in Europe and America at the National Museum of Wales.

Mary Hafeli, dean of the College of Fine and Performing Arts, said that Bennett is a consummate artist, scholar and educator whose work in all three of these areas continues to challenge, inspire and create new currents with myriad ripple effects.

“His work and teaching has been at the forefront of art, craft and design for decades,” said Hafeli. “On behalf of the School of Fine and Performing Arts, we are thrilled to see him honored in this way – so highly deserved – and are proud to recognize him as both a long-time, highly engaged faculty member in the Art Department and a SUNY New Paltz alumnus.”

Bennett is also co-director of New Paltz’s Master of Fine Arts Program in Metal, which is ranked #1 in the nation by the 2009 U.S. News & World Report list of America’s best graduate schools.

Since 1975, the Craft Council has bestowed the title of fellow to a total of 261 artists nominated and elected by their peers. Those elected have demonstrated extraordinary artistic ability and must have worked 25 years or more in the discipline or career in which they are being recognized.

Each newly elected Fellow and the Gold Medalist will be featured in the December/January 2009 issue of American Craft magazine.