Painting award created in memory of Sandy Chism

January 6, 2014 8:45 AM

Mary Sparacello

Beloved art professor Sandy Chism had an inimitable style of painting and teaching, and the Newcomb Art Department at Tulane University has come together to establish an award to honor her memory.

Sandy Chism

The Sandy Chism Memorial Award in Painting is given yearly to a student who is following in the footsteps of Chism, associate professor of art, who died in January 2013. (Photo from the Newcomb Art Department)

“We thought it would be really important to create an award for a student that honored Sandy’s quirky sensibilities in painting, that poetry and magic that was the essence of her work,” says Teresa Cole, professor and chair of the Newcomb Art Department.

The Sandy Chism Memorial Award in Painting is given yearly to a student who is following in Chism’s footsteps. Chism, a talented painter and sculptor, taught in the Newcomb Art Department from 1996 until her January 2013 death from cancer.

Cole was touched by the number of faculty and staff in the art department who contributed to the award, which she hopes will grow into an endowment that can be given in perpetuity.

“Sandy was truly beloved by the department,” Cole says, “and this was a way people felt they could honor her and keep her spirit alive.”

Madeline Marak, who graduated in 2013 with a bachelor of fine arts in painting, was the first student to receive the award. 

“I was honored that my professors saw something in me that reminded them of Sandy,” says Marak, who works as an artist’s studio assistant and is applying to master’s programs in painting. 

Marak is one of about 70 former students, colleagues and friends of Chism who will be showing their work this month at a tribute exhibition in the Carroll Gallery, says gallery curator Laura Richens. The show will run from Jan. 13 to 30, with an opening reception in the gallery on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m.

To make a gift, designate “Sandy Chism Memorial Award in Painting” on the online form

Mary Sparacello is a communications specialist in the Office of Development Communications.

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Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000