WMU News

Artist wins first scholarship offered by WMU group

June 11, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- A West Michigan artist is the first recipient of a newly established annual scholarship intended for Western Michigan University graduate students.

Kristin Casaletto, a Grand Rapids native who is working toward a master of fine arts degree in painting, will receive the first $500 Western Michigan University Dames Endowed Scholarship. The annual scholarship was established by the WMU Women's Association and the University Dames.

The University Dames was founded 85 years ago as an organization for the wives of WMU faculty members. In the early 1990s, the organization evolved into the WMU Women's Association which was open to any woman associated with the University. The association, now primarily made up of the wives of retired faculty members, recently returned to the organization's original name of the University Dames.

Casaletto, who expects to complete her degree in December, came to WMU in 1996. She earned undergraduate degrees in physics and drawing in 1988 from Ball State University. After a two-year stint working in the painting restoration laboratory at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., she traveled to Florence, Italy, to study art history at the University of Florence.

She completed her master's degree work in art history at Michigan State University in 1992. Casaletto taught at the college level and did free-lance work before coming to WMU to earn a second master's degree in painting. She was awarded a grant for foreign study by WMU President Diether H. Haenicke to return to Florence and study fresco painting techniques during the winter 1997 semester.

Last summer, after returning from Florence, she completed a commissioned piece -- a reproduction of Benozzo Gozzoli's famed fresco, "Journey of the Magi," for the Grand Rapids Art Museum's heralded winter exhibit on Renaissance art. The piece, the original of which graces the Palazzo Medici in Florence, was the focus of the Renaissance exhibit's section for children.

The new scholarship is intended for a graduate student in any degree program offered at WMU, with preference given to female candidates who have completed 15 credit hours of graduate work. The scholarship is administered by the WMU Graduate College. For more information about the scholarship program, persons should contact Dr. Shirley Clay Scott, dean of the Graduate College, at (616) 387-3570.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland; cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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