Ceramics Major Named 2022 CPVA Valedictorian

Published: April 25, 2022 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 2 minutes

Southern Utah University’s College of Performing and Visual Arts is proud to announce Cris Belk as the 2022 valedictorian. Hailing from El Paso, Texas, Belk is a ceramics and sculpting major with a double minor in painting and accounting. With an affinity for hiking and gardening, Belk finds inspiration for her work in nature, especially the flora and fauna of Cedar City.

With a background in chemistry and costume construction, Belk has always had a keen eye for detail. Her work with theater costumes even found its way into her ceramic work through the incorporation of textile and fabric in her pieces. Additionally, Belk comes from a family of luthiers, or people who construct and repair string instruments.

“I was always amazed by the violins my relatives made, which attracted me to sculpture,” said Belk.

When selecting a university, SUU stood out to Belk because of two big factors; one, the location and two, the high caliber art facilities. Not to mention all the amazing staff that helped her along the way.

“The studio art faculty have all been amazing,” Belk said. “All of my major faculty were very supportive and challenged me to practice new skills and processes. Trying things I hadn't done before helped me start developing my own style and preferences for materials. I got to work with Susan Harris, Jason Walker, Russell Wrankle, Brian Hoover, Eric Brown, and Yidan Guo in my concentrations. I appreciate that SUU's art faculty have a variety of perspectives and styles.”

Along with all the different art, sculpting, and ceramic styles and techniques she learned, Belk has formulated her own style of creation at SUU. And not just through her classes on campus, but through extracurricular activities and other programs that she participated in.

“I was in the Ceramics Guild and was able to take welding classes at Southwest Tech concurrently so I could use metal in my sculptures,” said Belk. “I also had the opportunity to be Student Artist-in-Residence at Zion National Park, which really influenced my interest in southern Utah landscapes and plants.”

To prospective and current SUU students, Belk offers this advice, “Don't be afraid to try things you've never done, and don't worry about failing.

SUU’s 2022 Commencement Ceremony will be held on Friday, April 29 in the America First Event Center. Tickets are not required for the ceremony, but seating preference will be made for graduates and their families. The ceremony will also be streamed online by SUTV-9 and on SUU's social media channels. To watch Howe’s speech, tune into the Education Convocation at 12:30 p.m.

Visit SUU’s graduation website for more information about the 2022 Commencement Ceremony.

Tags: Art and Design Graduation College of Performing and Visual Arts

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