June 11, 2015

Student Artwork Among SUNY's Best

Anita Sillery’s watercolors, “Untitled-A” and “Untitled-B,” were selected for the 2015 Best of SUNY Art Exhibition

Student Anita Sillery, at left, stands under “Untitled-A” with her daughter Isabella, 14, and fellow student-artist Claudia Rocha-Van Holt, who traveled to Albany with the Sillerys. Photo/Empire State College

Student Anita Sillery, at left, stands under “Untitled-A” with her daughter Isabella, 14, and fellow student-artist Claudia Rocha-Van Holt, who traveled to Albany with the Sillerys. Photo/Empire State College

Art student Anita Sillery’s watercolors, “Untitled-A” and “Untitled-B,” were selected for the 2015 Best of SUNY Art Exhibition, now at the New York State Museum, in Albany, through Sept. 6.

“I just could not believe my artwork was selected; I started crying,” said Sillery. “I was really overwhelmed and I had to read the email three times before really understanding what it said.”

Sillery attended the reception for SUNY students and faculty June 9 at the state museum, which was hosted by SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright.

Sillery traveled from New York City to the event with her daughter, Isabella, 14, and fellow art student Claudia Rocha-Van Holt. Her mother said that “Izzie,” as she likes to be called, will attend the High School of Art and Design in the fall.

Describing the process she used to create her watercolors, Sillery said, “That was an experimental process using special paper in a way that I had never approached watercolors before.”

Sillery had been working in the graphic design industry for 32 years when she lost her job a year and a half ago. Though she had never before attended college, shortly thereafter she enrolled and became a work-study student.

“One of the things I always wanted to do was earn my bachelor’s,” Sillery said. She now has completed two terms with the college.

Both Sillery and Rocha-Van Holt, who graduates this year, are students of Mentor Betty Wilde-Biasiny, in the Metropolitan New York area.

Rocha-Van Holt’s artwork was selected for the fall 2011 SUNY Student Art Exhibit and displayed at SUNY Plaza, Albany; additionally, her artwork, “Crowning Achievement,” earned second place in the college’s annual student art competition in 2010.

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