On taking a walk around this year’s Masters Show, you start to notice some similarities.
“Hi, where are you from?”
“I’m from Minnesota.”
This happened twice on my tour of the building and was later told that there are four students from Minnesota on this year’s Arts and Humanities MFA course.
I decided to ask Course Coordinator Mary Modeen why this was.
“I do a lot of recruitment work in North America and I started to make links with the University of Minnesota. I visited their campus and have presented many presentations. It must have worked because we have two students from there, Addison Galagan and Ricardo Bennett-Guzman.
“When I go out to America I talk all about our amazing studios at Duncan of Jordanstone and what we have to offer. I can talk, hand on heart, about how much I love Scotland.”
Through further digging, I found out that Chloe Brigg’s former tutor (at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota) was actually a University of Dundee Alumna. Elaine Rutherford moved out to America shortly after graduating from Dundee. The links keep coming, as it was actually Mary Modeen who helped Elaine find a place at the New Mexico State University to study MFA in Painting.
“I had never been anywhere in the States before and New Mexico couldn’t have been more different from Scotland, but the landscape is incredible. I did however always expect to return to Scotland but at that time there were fewer opportunities in Scotland and more in the US.
“When I learned from Mary about this course I did encourage Chloe to apply. I have also encouraged several other students to apply including one student who is brand new first year, Madeline Cochrane. On another note, I love Dundee! The people are friendly and the landscape is gorgeous. It has everything you need.”
I asked Katie how Elaine managed to persuade her to come to Dundee. “She said that I was going to absolutely love it.” said Chloe.
“She said that I would feel at home here and that the people are friendly. It’s got such a great landscape, but also being able to travel to Edinburgh and Glasgow was beneficial to my art practice.
“And she was right, I absolutely love it here. Within two weeks it felt like home.”
On the Masters Show opening night I managed to catch up with Katie Oltrogge. She helped me to find yet another incredible link.
“Chloe actually interviewed me for a job.” said Katie. She was a Graphic Designer at a printing press in Minneapolis and I applied on the off-chance I wouldn’t get into Dundee.
“I got accepted to Dundee the same day I had the job interview. I had to tell her that I was going to Dundee and then she told me she was going here too. So it was really strange.”
I also spoke to Ricardo who was happy to talk about his time here in Dundee.
“It’s been fantastic and an unexpected experience. It just made me fall in love with Dundee and Scotland as a whole.
“It was Christine Baeumler from the University of Minnesota who mentioned that there was a fellowship and she thought I was a good candidate. I applied without any expectations and managed to get it.”
And finally – we had Addison Galagan
“I first learned about about the from my undergraduate research professor Rebecca Krinke from the University of Minnesota. I was grateful to learn that I was eligible to receive a fellowship award form the School of Humanities, which I got. It allowed me to afford the year of study.
” Dundee has been great. I have been able to work with amazing technicians and along with students in both their graduate and undergraduate degrees. All of these people have shown me something special about their personal experiences in the arts, and I am grateful to have met them. Some I hope to do future collaboration art projects with. They helped me to realize my interests in sculpture. My friends and I have been able to go on some great adventures, including visiting Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Ullapool, London, Fife, Mallaig, Pitlochry, and others.”