2024 Creative Arts Awards Recipients

Creative Arts Award

Laura Schwendinger
Laura Elise Schwendinger, composer of the opera Artemisia, winner of the 2023 American Academy of Arts and Letters Charles Ives Opera award ($50,000), was the first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize. A Professor of music and head of music composition at UW-Madison, her works have been championed and premiered by Dawn Upshaw, Jennifer Koh, Janine Jansen, Matt Haimovitz, Elisabeth Remy Johnson, International Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth-Blackbird, New Juilliard Ensemble, Earplay, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, the New Juilliard Ensemble, the Kennedy Center Theater Chamber Players; the Arditti, JACK and Spektral Quartets, the American Composers Orchestra, Richmond Symphony and Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Hungary. Her fellowships include the Guggenheim Foundation, Radcliffe Institute, Copland Prize, First Prize of the ALEA III Competition, the American Academy Arts Letters (3), MacDowell (12), Yaddo (9), Bogliasco (2) and Bellagio fellowships, as well as commissions from the Harvard Music Association, Chamber Music America, National Flute Association, Miller Theater and rare, two time commissions from the Fromm & Koussevitzky Foundations. Her music has been performed at Kennedy & Lincoln Centers, Berlin Philharmonic Kammermusiksaal, Wigmore, & Carnegie Halls, Bargemusic, Miller Theater & Théâtre Châtelet, Tanglewood, Aspen, Ojai, Talis (Switzerland), KOFOMI (Austria) & Bennington Music Festivals. Her music has been called “captivating, artful and moving” and “music of infinite beauty” in the New York Times, “the genuine article..onto the ’season’s best list “ in the Boston Globe. In SFCV review of her opera, “Artemisia is sumptuous on every level.” Recent premieres include her second opera, Cabaret of Shadows, a Fromm Commission, which was just premiered by Musiqa at MATCH in Houston, Nightingales for Eleanor Bartsch and Ariana Kim with UWSO and Dubuque Symphony, her harp concerto, Second Sight, for Atlanta Symphony Principal Harpist Elisabeth Remy Johnson, commissioned by the Emory Orchestra programmer its 100th anniversary, a new solo work for Matt Haimovitz’s Primavera Project and a new piano concerto for Christopher Taylor and the Chicago Composers Orchestra. Her work is published by Keiser Classical/Southern. Her work is on Naxos DVD, “Voices of Our Time” featuring Dawn Upshaw and more than a dozen commercial CDs feature her work. Three CDs featuring her work will be released in 2024, 2025 alone. Colin Clarke wrote of her JACK Albany CD QUARTETS, “the sheer intensity of the music is spellbinding…the passion shines through like..light.” Her upcoming commissions include those for Cantori New York based on Silent Spring, the Merian Ensemble, Chameleon Arts Ensemble and a third opera.

Emily Mead Baldwin Award in the Creative Arts

Anna Campbell
Anna’s sculptures, installations, and ephemera mine queer history and desire. Campbell has had solo exhibits at Participant, Inc. and BOSI Contemporary in NYC, Tractionarts in LA, the Window Into Houston at the Blaffer Art Museum, and group exhibits at SeoulTech, AIR Gallery in Brooklyn, Gallery 400 in Chicago, and the Green Gallery at Yale. Her work has been featured in Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, New Art Examiner, Hyperallergic, GQ.com, Advocate.com, the Chicago Reader, Queer Difficulties in Verse and Visual Culture (Routledge, 2017) and Queer Holdings: A Survey of the Leslie-Lohman Collection (Hirmer, 2019.) She has been in residence at FIAR (Fire Island Artist Residency), Ox-Bow, Vermont Studio Center, Haystack, and Sculpture Space. Campbell’s work is in the collections of the Leslie Lohman Museum, the MoMA Library, and the Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; her bronze sculpture is permanently installed at the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn.

Peter Dominguez
Peter grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin participating in the Music for Youth Orchestras, and performing with his father, pianist and singer Frank DeMiles. His teachers included Willard Feldman, Clyde Russell, Mitchell Covic and Bernard Stepner. Peter went on to study with Roger Ruggeri and Richard Davis at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned his baccalaureate and masters degrees with a teaching assistantship 1980-82. In 1981 he was the first recipient of the Milton J. Hinton scholarship competition award. A teaching assistantship and doctoral studies with Dr. Lucas Drew at the University of Miami, Coral Gables followed in 1982-4. Eventually securing positions in both the Florida Philharmonic and Michigan State University, Peter chose MSU, served as Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies 1984-96, and was instrumental in developing their Jazz Studies program. During his Michigan years, he continued studies with Robert Gladstone and performed with the Detroit Symphony. The former Principal Bass with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra and the American Sinfonietta, Peter was also Professor of Jazz Studies and Double Bass at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and recently received Emeritus Professor status. He is currently Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Having pursued over 48 years of double bass performance practice in a variety of musical styles while appearing in venues through out the Americas and Europe, Peter continues to play with an impressive array of Classical, Jazz, and Latin artists. His teaching activities include national and international classes, International Society of Bassists conferences, adjudication of international competitions, artistic direction of the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassist Inc. annual conference in Madison Wisconsin, and the director of the biennial Milt Hinton Institute for Studio Bass at Oberlin Conservatory. His trio recording “How About This” with Billy Hart and Rick Germanson is available through CD, “Baby” and his solo recording “Groove Dreams: performed on Milt Hinton’s famous 1790 double bass is available through Oberlin/Naxos music. Another solo recording entitled “Bass Salute” is scheduled for release in 2023, featuring Richard Davis’s 1855 Lion Head double bass.

Joyce J. and Gerald A. Bartell Award in the Arts

Mike King
Michael’s mission for the last fifteen years has been to bring great films to UW-Madison. As a programmer for the Wisconsin Film Festival and the UW Cinematheque, he has brought fiction, documentary, experimental, and animated films from all corners of the globe to cinephiles of all ages. The enduring popularity of both programs is a testament to how the arts on campus can bring our community together in celebration of powerful aesthetic experiences, diversity, and inclusivity. Under King’s artistic direction, the Festival has become integral to UW’s student population by providing in-class talks from visiting filmmakers, and by celebrating our post-pandemic return to an in-person event by making Festival admission free for students. King has developed devoted audiences by embracing the very best an increasingly endangered art form has to offer. As commercial theaters around us have shuttered, our film programs have thrived.

Edna Wiechers Arts in Wisconsin Award

Hannah O’Hare Bennett
Hannah O’Hare Bennett is an artist and experimental papermaker based in Madison, WI. She holds a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Kansas (1998) and an MFA in Design Studies from the University of Wisconsin Madison (2017). Between those degrees, she worked in organic agriculture, manual labor that informs her current subject matter and manner of creating art. She is known for her innovative techniques with hand papermaking and natural pigments, and frequently teaches workshops on those topics at art centers around the United States. In 2018, her work was included in “In Between,” a portfolio of handmade paper curated by Hand Papermaking, Inc, which is included in the collections of libraries and museums across the country. Currently she is the UW-Madison campus Peace Corps recruiter and lectures in the Art Department, as well as maintaining her art practice in her studio at Arts & Literature Lab.

David and Edith Sinaiko Frank Graduate Fellowship for a Woman in the Arts

Anamika Singh
Anamika is a visual artist and filmmaker. Singh received her BFA from Cooper Union School of Art and is currently a 4D MFA candidate at UW-Madison ’25. Through video, sculpture and poetry, Singh’s work contends with the intersection of carceral structures, museology and governance to consider how soft power intersects with necropower. Singh’s most recent research includes histories of migration and questions around postcolonial nation-building by tracing cross-continental historical lineages. Singh has been the recipient of the Creative Art Awards, Benjamin Menschel Fellowship, Ashkal Alwan HWP fellowship, and Futuress Design Fellowship. Her work has been screened at the South Asia Institute Chicago, Fracto Film Festival in Berlin, and Angkor Photo Festival in Siem Reap. Singh has been a visiting professor at Rutgers University-Newark, guest lecturer at the Architectural Association, London and a guest critic at the Cooper Union School of Art.

Lyman S.V. Judson and Ellen Mackechnie Judson Graduate Student Award in the Creative Arts

Diego Alegria
Diego holds a BA in English Linguistics and Literature, and an MA in Literature from the University of Chile. He joined the UW-Madison English Department as a doctoral student in 2019, with a Minor in Spanish and a Certificate in Public Humanities. Alegría is currently writing his dissertation on the role of syntactic figures in the formation of modern poetry, particularly in the literature of British Romanticism and Spanish American Modernismo. He is the author of the poetry book Raíz abierta (2015), the bilingual chapbook y sin embargo los umbrales / and yet the thresholds (2019), and the essay collection Poética del Caminar: Poems (1817) de John Keats (2023). He has won national and international poetry and essay awards, such as Juegos Literarios Gabriela Mistral Municipal Prize (2012), Finalist of the José María Valverde Prize (2014), and Lore Metzger Prize in Romantic Studies (2021), among others.

Gabriela Yepes-Rossel
Gabriela is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Theater Program at the English Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her doctoral studies in the fall 2021 after earning a B.A. in Communications from the University of Lima, Peru, and an M.F.A. in Film and Theater Production from the University of Austin, Texas. Gabriela’s primary areas of artistic practice and research are film, theater, and Andean performance. She has taught at the Catholic University of Peru and the University of Lima while working as a director’s assistant and dramaturg for La Plaza Theater and the British Theater in Lima. Her play The Therapist earned her the 2017 Sala de Parto Playwriting Award and the 2020 Luces Award. Furthermore, she has also been a jury member, mentor, and facilitator for various film and theater competitions, festivals, and workshops in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile, and Puerto Rico. She is a 2004 Fulbright Fellow and a 2023 AAUW International Fellow.

Graduate Student Creative Arts Award

Fatemeh Fani
Fatemeh Fani (b.1992) is a Master of Fine Arts student in the photography area at UW-Madison. She is a recipient of 2023 Glenn R. Allen Graduate Student Scholarship in Art Fund and 2024 Graduate Student Creative Arts Award. She was born in Iran and currently is living in the United States of America. Fatemeh is a social documentary photographer and her research is focused on women, sexual minorities, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, and immigrants to express how, in traditional societies and developing countries such as Iran, these groups encounter restrictions, discrimination, social injustices and are deprived of fundamental rights and freedom of expression. As an Iranian woman who has always been a witness and victim of discrimination and restriction in her country and has recently immigrated to the U.S., she is in a state of extreme emotional and identity ambivalence. These days her artistic endeavor is centered on capturing the essence of America through the distinctive lens of an immigrant. Within this creative exploration, her primary objective is to meticulously record scenes that, though evoking a sense of novelty, peculiarity, and even astonishment in her personal experience, seamlessly blend into the tapestry of everyday life for the broader community. Although all these streets, scenes, events, and people have been photographed too many times, it could be the first time that they are photographed through the lens of a person who is alien to all of them.

Veronica Pham
Veronica Y. Pham works primarily in handmade paper and fiber arts in her studio practice. Her work focuses on traditional craft specific to Vietnamese and Chinese histories to spark conversation on the ideas of process, labor, cultural identity, and memory. The materials in her work are often environmental investigations about local ecology and place. Pham continues to work with traditional and contemporary papermakers in Vietnam with a focus on collaborative projects and research. She was most recently a part of the Paper is People: Decolonizing Global Paper Cultures group exhibition at the San Francisco Center for the Book, which looks at paper within a global and decolonial framework. Pham holds a BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lives in the Midwest region of the United States where she enjoys incorporating local hemp in her papermaking practice.

Carolyn Spears
Carolyn Spears is an experimental multi-media artist with a background in glass. Her work is inspired by the natural world, and she studies glaciology as it relates to the human experience. Carolyn is originally from Louisville, KY where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Louisville in 2015. Carolyn began the MFA program at UW-Madison in 2021 and will graduate in spring of 2024. Carolyn’s work has been shown extensively throughout the United States, including Manifest Gallery (Cincinnatti, OH), Cressman Center for Visual Arts (Louisville, KY), The Delaware Contemporary (Wilmington, DE), and Foci Minnesota Center for Glass Arts (Minneapolis, MN). Carolyn is the recipient of the Anne Wilkins Bolz and Robert Mayer Bolz Graduate Fellowship. Carolyn worked for the University of Louisville Art Department for three years as a departmental assistant. Currently, she is a project assistant in the Art Department at UW-Madison.

Matthew Ludak
Matthew is a third-year MFA Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who began his graduate study in the Fall of 2021. Before attending UW-Madison, Ludak completed a certificate program in Documentary Studies from the International Center for Photography in New York City. While there, he was awarded the George Moss Scholarship and the Director’s Fellowship. In 2021, Ludak received an Artist Fellowship from New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 2022, his work was shown in the Wisconsin Biennial at the Museum of Wisconsin Art and the Soho Photo Gallery in New York City. In 2022 he had his first solo and international show in Braga, Portugal, as part of their annual Photography and Visual Arts Festival. Ludak is a 2023 recipient of the Lyman S.V. Johnson and Ellen Mackechnie Judson Graduate Student Award in the Creative Arts, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Ludak’s photography is a combination of his interests in fine art and documentary practices. His work explores quiet moments in small towns, rural communities, and cities across the United States.

Magdalena Sas
Polish cellist Magdalena Sas performs across Europe, Asia and the Americas, and appeared in renowned concert halls such as Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, BOZAR in Brussels, Witold Lutoslawski Studio in Warsaw. Recipient of the Paul Collins Wisconsin Distinguished Fellowship and Fulbright Scholarship, she obtained Master of Music degrees from prestigious music conservatories in Poland, Belgium, and Austria, and since 2018 she is a doctoral student in cello performance at UW-Madison. Magdalena’s research focuses on music for cello by Indian American composers exploring the fusion of Western and Indian classical music idioms. Currently, she serves on the faculty of University of Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State University. Passionate for using music as a tool for social change, Magdalena is the founder and Artistic Director of the Third Coast Chamber Collective, a Minnesota based non-profit organization focused on promoting the transformative power of chamber music through educational, collaborative and commissioning outreach projects.


Devon Stackonis
Devon is a visual artist and printmaker specializing in mezzotint and intaglio techniques who often employs model making and paper miniatures in her process. Stackonis’ current body of work serves as a personal reflection of the mountainous coal regions of Northeastern Pennsylvania where she grew up and the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of extractive industry. The inhabitants and the landscape never truly recovered from this industrial past, and she finds this to be compelling grounds for her creative practice. She received her BFA from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in 2018 and worked as Assistant in Printmaking at Bucknell University from 2018-2020. Her work is held in the National Library and Archives of Québec and Special Collections at the University of Washington Libraries, Seattle. Since 2021, Stackonis has been pursuing her MFA in Printmaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently a Curatorial Assistant at Tandem Press.

Lyman S.V. Judson and Ellen Mackechnie Judson Student Award in the Creative Arts

Diya Abbas
Diya Abbas is a first-generation Pakistani poet, performer, and playwright from the Midwest. They were named the 2022 George B. Hill Poetry Prize Winner. Their poems are featured in Foglifter, Adroit, The Offing, BAHR Magazine, Emerge Literary Journal and others. Diya has written and performed for venues including The Lincoln Center, St.Louis Film Festival, Brave New Voices, Button Poetry, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Andre De Shields Foundation, and others. They are currently studying Creative Writing and South Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison through the First Wave program.

Kaleb Autman
Kaleb is a double-major in Sociology and Legal Studies who began at UW-Madison in the Fall of 2021 as a First Wave Scholar, having transferred from Northeastern Illinois University, where he was a George Floyd Social Justice Scholar. Autman is a documentarian from the West Side of Chicago working through the mediums of photography, video, and spoken word, focused on Black and Indigenous resistance and survivance. His practice employs memory and ancestral ties in centering land stewardship, cultural stewardship, and social movements. Autman situates his lens on worlds yet to be born; mapping them through ancestral guidance and history. Autman is a current recipient of the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop Dietz Award and a HEX-U Fellow with the Center for Humanities. A life-long activist/organizer, Autman serves as Operations Officer for Blk Power Coalition, and on the Ad-Hoc Study Group on the Black Community Experience on the UW–Madison Campus.

Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Arts Award

Kaleb Autman
Kaleb is a double-major in Sociology and Legal Studies who began at UW-Madison in the Fall of 2021 as a First Wave Scholar, having transferred from Northeastern Illinois University, where he was a George Floyd Social Justice Scholar. Autman is a documentarian from the West Side of Chicago working through the mediums of photography, video, and spoken word, focused on Black and Indigenous resistance and survivance. His practice employs memory and ancestral ties in centering land stewardship, cultural stewardship, and social movements. Autman situates his lens on worlds yet to be born; mapping them through ancestral guidance and history. Autman is a current recipient of the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop Dietz Award and a HEX-U Fellow with the Center for Humanities. A life-long activist/organizer, Autman serves as Operations Officer for Blk Power Coalition, and on the Ad-Hoc Study Group on the Black Community Experience on the UW–Madison Campus.

Madelyn Mascotti
Madelyn works with printmaking, photography, and painting often exploring the intersection between gender, familial history, and Midwestern identity. She began studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a Bachelor of Fine Arts major in 2020. Her Wisconsin upbringing plays a significant role in shaping her artistic vision, as she finds inspiration from the various environments found in the state. She has previously worked as an intern at the Milwaukee Art Museum (2020) and currently works at Monroe Street Arts Center where she is passionate about the intersection of community and art. She has also created two public murals which encourage and celebrate building a sense of community. Madelyn’s work has been displayed at the Milwaukee Art Museum, Giant Jones, Art Lofts Gallery, and American Family Children’s Hospital.

Abby Sunde
Abby Sunde is a Midwest-based visual artist born and raised on Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) ceded territory in Northcentral Wisconsin. She is a direct descendant of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and is also of Scandinavian/European-American descent. Informed through her previous education/work in environmental science and remediation, and through her previous work supporting food-security in Native communities, Sunde’s practice is an exploration of the complex societal challenges therein. Sunde has been selected for group exhibitions across the country, and her work has been a part of the Northern Spark festival in St. Paul, Minnesota and the First International Festival of Manuports at Kohta in Helsinki, Finland. Sunde is currently an NDGNS Scholars Fellow and Earth Partnerships Tribal Student Fellow at UW-Madison.

Dylan Hart
Dylan is a third year student within the Wisconsin School of Business studying Finance and International Business. Born in NYC, Dylan is the founder of Endless.Media LLC – a digital publication seeking to mitigate worries about artificial intelligence within the creative industry.

Kiyem Obuseh
Kiyem is a student chasing his dreams here at UW-Madison. Seeking to make an impact the second his feet hit the ground and to truly help those in his community. He enrolled as a computer engineer. His reason for choosing this major is because he is also developing an app that aligns with his main goal of inspiring kids, which will soon be in schools across Wisconsin. Previously, he spent 2 years at Madison College. His primary art form is Animation and Film-making, but has also has a passion for writing. He has won multiple poetry and speech competitions and has had one of his books published. He has worked across many fields particular in marketing for MATC and Graphic design for the Navy Marine Corps public health center. He was also commissioned by the overture center to create a mural during the George Floyd incident.

Isaac Yang
Isaac is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Communication Arts (Radio/TV/Film track). Since beginning his studies in Fall 2021, Yang has assumed a pivotal role in the student-run comedy scene as a writer, performer, and producer. He began his career creating late-night revues with Manhole Sketch Comedy. In Spring 2022, he founded That’s All There Is (TATI) alongside Carly de la Masa. TATI, a Neo-Futurist theater ensemble, is a continuation of Yang and de la Masa’s prior work at Kimberly High School. Five years on, they continue to share their experience and passion for Neo-Futurism with new playwrights and curious audience members alike. Yang is the co-founder and executive director of Saus Haus, a non-profit production company, and the producer of First Take, an improv comedy troupe. He is a Mercile J. Lee Scholar, Lumen scholar, and recipient of The Studio Creative Arts Awards 2022.