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Print by Student Jose Colon Selected for 2014 Best of SUNY Art Exhibition; Now in Show at New York State Museum

By David Henahan, director of communications, Office of Communications and Government Relations

July 7, 2014

artwork of Jose Colon, Did you hear, two figures gossiping“Did You Hear,” a print (at left) of an etching by SUNY Empire State College student José Colón, has been selected for the 2014 Best of SUNY Art Exhibition.

The juried Best of SUNY exhibit features a single work of art by each of 69 students from 26 institutions. Individual art departments across SUNY’s 64 campuses submitted entries.

“It was an unexpected surprise and truly a great honor to be part of a select few chosen to represent the State University of New York system,” said Colón. “I want to take this opportunity to thank Empire State College, the faculty and the State University of New York. It is their generosity and unending support that made all this possible.”

An eight-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, Colón served as a radioman in the Persian Gulf War Theater in 1991 and is employed by the Museum of Modern Art security department.

The 49-year-old native of Manati, Puerto Rico and a resident of Bronx, N.Y. is the father of two daughters. He enrolled with Empire State College in 2005, studied visual arts part time at the college’s office in lower Manhattan and has taken courses online.

Colón also earned credit for college-level learning gained in a nontraditional setting. He graduated June 12 with a B.A. in the arts and a concentration in visual arts.

“José is a wonderful artist and student,” said Betty Wilde-Biasiny, associate professor and faculty mentor in The Arts and Colón’s primary mentor. “José created these humanistic etchings of a bygone era through a guided independent study with the college conducted at a nonprofit graphics organization in Manhattan. He went on to make additional paintings, prints and works on paper, a colorful portfolio of collaged and spray-painted urban imagery, which has been installed at the college’s Hudson Gallery in Manhattan. SUNY’s recognition of José is a testament to his artistic excellence. Better still, completing a degree speaks to his perseverance and determination as the working father of an amazing family.”

"We are very proud of José,” said Merodie Hancock, president of Empire State College. “His talent and determination to complete his degree is representative of the desire of many of the college’s students for a broad liberal arts experience and the need to be able to study where and when it fits their busy lives.”

“We are deeply proud to have our Best of SUNY art exhibition on display at the New York State Museum again this year,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher. “Showcasing our top student works from the past year, this annual exhibit has become a must-see attraction for those who live in Albany, as well as the museum’s many visitors from across the state and nation. Congratulations to all of this year’s contributors.”

Jose Colon with Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and HildrethZimpher (at left) and SUNY Distinguished Service Professor Joseph A. Hildreth (at right), a professor of art studio-printmaking with the SUNY Potsdam Department of Art and a member of the committee that judged entries, presented Colón (at center) with his award at a reception held Tuesday evening, June 10 at the New York State Museum in Albany. The exhibit is on display at the state museum through Aug. 31.

“When I set out to create my prints, it was more of a personal venture and I wanted to honor the human figure in some way,” said Colón. “The period right after World War II, specifically the era before the computer age, is the focus of my work. The fact that my art appeals to an audience in an age of mass digital consumption brings me great satisfaction.”

“When I first met José about seven years ago, he would only use blue paint, like Picasso,” said Wilde-Biasiny. “José has since expanded his palate to use sienna and white and now works with a full spectrum of urban color. I always look for him when I go to MoMA because it was there that he learned so much about modern art.”

About the Annual Best of SUNY Art Student Exhibition

The annual Best of SUNY Art Student Exhibition includes traditional mediums of drawing, ceramics, painting, sculpture, photography and printmaking. Mixed media, photography, sculpture and digitally produced works also are included.

The SUNY student art shows were initiated in 2002 so that the work of SUNY’s most talented student artists would be seen by a wider audience. SUNY student art is also on display year-round at State University Plaza in Albany, SUNY Global Center in New York City and Gov. Cuomo’s Washington, D.C. office.

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