Fine Arts Student Show 2020 



Maria Elena Ferrer-Harrington


children swimming painting








Artist Statement:

My paintings and sculptures are part of my larger desire to help people become aware of their identities and their surroundings as fully as possible.


“Identity” is how we perceive, regard and express ourselves, an enduring and continuous sense of who we are. I use the plural “identities” to emphasize that our identity is fluid and shifts throughout our lives, including how we aspire to be.


For those of us living far from our places of origin, creating colorful expressions of art can help preserve our personal and cultural identities, while maintaining a bond to the lives we knew. It also lets us explore, decide, declare, express, experience and question ideas about our identities over time.


I understand my praxis as multidisciplinary. I love to try new materials and new ways of making art to elicit a response, to cause a reaction, and to create a resilient and transformative narrative about self, place, and race while embracing joy and a sense of hope.


After SUNY Ulster I plan to:

Transfer to a 4-year college to obtain a BFA, and an MFA after that.



Volunteer work or group affiliations:

Arts Mid-Hudson, Kingston City Arts Commission, Arts Society of Kingston, Kingston Midtown Arts District, Made in Kingston Committee


Favorite class, quote or moment during your time at SUNY Ulster:

I never felt prouder of my SUNY Ulster community than following the vandalism of a piece of my artwork that had been displayed on campus. I had created the piece for a class assignment, so besides being an artistic expression, it was academic work.


I had suddenly felt unsafe and deeply hurt by this cowardly attempt to silence my constitutional right to free speech and to trample on academic freedom—not just for me but also for everyone at the college.


To my surprise and comfort, I immediately received overwhelming support from my fellow students, faculty and staff members, and the college president, Dr. Roberts, who also issued a campus-wide “special statement” rejecting the artwork’s destruction.


The support and redemption I felt, after feeling so vulnerable, were profound. It was a high point of my experience of the SUNY Ulster community.








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