The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts

Ph.D. Candidate Natalia Pilato Receives Award

Mural Unveiling, Pictured With Vincent Ortiz Cortez

Natalia Pilato, a Penn State Ph.D. candidate in Art Education, is a 2013-14 recipient of the Imagining America/Joy of Giving Something Award, a $2000 scholarship given to only ten undergraduate and graduate students in photography, media and visual arts across the country. The scholarship is awarded to publicly engaged students enrolled at universities that are part of the Imagining America consortium, and given by Joy of Giving Something, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the photographic arts.

“I am very honored that Tina Thompson considered me to be a prime candidate for the Imagining America award and encouraged me to apply,” said Pilato. “The Joy of Giving Something 2013 tuition award came from Dr. Thompson's unwavering commitment to the students she advises and my engagement with connecting universities and communities through collaborative art projects.”

Pilato demonstrated leadership in facilitating community-based photo or media arts experiences with people unlikely to otherwise have access to art-making. As the executive director of the Community Arts Collective in State College, PA, Pilato facilitated and completed two major community-based murals, “The Color of Music” and “Dreams Take Flight.” Pilato was previously the director of arts and education at the Campbell Street Community Center in Williamsport, PA, where she designed and implemented projects including the Children’s Community Garden, the “Seed to Mouth” program, the “CLICK” photo project, and the “Children Are the Seeds of the Future” mural in 2009. Pilato worked with hundreds of community members to develop the mural themes and imagery as well as supervising hundreds more in the painting process. Pilato believes that “teaching is an endless circle of giving and receiving, a constant exchange of ideas that stem from one ongoing conversation. This conversation takes academia out of the classroom and brings it into the community, onto the street corners, front steps, porches, and into homes where the dialogue continues and grows.”

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Photo Caption:  Colors of Music Mural. Natalia Pilato with her student Vincent Ortiz Cortez