Tracey Pennington with the 2014 Hadley Prize and 3 of her mosaics.
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“My work is completely unique in that it is created out of my heart, mind and soul.”
Tracey Pennington is a potent example of the power of art to change, or perhaps even save, a life. In the midst of a struggle with debilitating depression, she picked up a mosaic kit in a craft store on a whim and suddenly found herself immersed in a new passion: “…to my surprise, I found the quiet, tactile, slow process of mosaic-making to be psychologically healing.” A mere five years later, she has developed into an accomplished and respected artist, who teaches a beginning mosaic class, regularly exhibits at the St. James Art Fair, and is now the winner of the 2014 Mary Alice Hadley Prize for the Visual Arts.
The $5000 award, presented annually by the Community Foundation of Louisville and the Louisville Visual Art Association, was announced on June 4, 2014. 2013 was the first year, and the recipient was printmaker Susanna Crum. The award process this year included some 65 applicants, with the winner chosen by a committee of five jurors who are significant members of the Louisville visual arts community.
The award is intended to foster creative development for the artist, and Pennington’s plans for the money take full advantage of that opportunity. “I will use the award to study with a mosaic master in a 5-day student intensive workshop at the best mosaic school in the world: The Mosaic School in Ravenna, Italy.” (mosaicschool.com) Ravenna is known as the city of the mosaic and the intensive class Pennington will be taking includes a mosaic tour of the city to see some of the oldest mosaics in the world.