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Alumna Receives Fulbright Award to Make Art in Iceland

Covenant College alumna Elizabeth Tubergen '08 was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Student Scholarship to Iceland. The Fulbright, a U.S. Department of State international exchange program, allowed for Tubergen to move in July to Iceland, where she will stay for a year. She is the third Covenant College graduate and the first Covenant College art major to receive a Fulbright. She has also received a fellowship from the American-Scandinavian Foundation. Tubergen is making sculptures and videos in Iceland, as well as doing independent research.


"I am constantly searching for ways to continue making work," says Tubergen. "The Fulbright is just that: time and financial support to make artwork. Iceland is a place that fascinates me, and I've been wanting to make work there for years. I'm so excited that I get a chance to do so!"


Covenant College Professor of Art Jeffrey Morton and Associate Professor of Art Kayb Carpenter worked closely with Tubergen during her years at Covenant. "Liz did what all art students should be doing, but not all do-she was very proactive about making her own work outside of class, getting shows and securing galleries," says Carpenter. "She was interested in the community as well. The Fulbright is very interested in community building, so that made Liz a good fit."


Tubergen plans to stay in Iceland until July 2010. Her current projects include spinning and knitting Icelandic wool, creating a wax chandelier, and some projects for a show in March at the Association of Visual Arts in Chattanooga. "I have also been working on photos and videos related to the weather, a dominant factor in Icelandic life," she says, and "I am designing a clock based on the footstep instead of the second."


 Currently living in an artist residency in Reykjavik, Iceland's largest city, Tubergen will also spend time in the northern towns of Skagaströnd,  Akureyri, and  Siglufjörður.  "During the summer, a friend and I spent a month traveling around Iceland by bicycle, camping all over the country," says Tubergen. "Biking was a great way to experience the land-it really helped me to gain a human-scale sense of time and distance and geography."


After Iceland, Tubergen hopes to attend graduate school and eventually to return to New York City, where she lived after graduating from Covenant in 2008. Tubergen says of her time at Covenant, "It deepened my understanding of grace. I walked away from Covenant having experienced true friendship with my peers and teachers. . . . Covenant also gave me room to take action and structure my time, which is what you have to do as an artist outside of school."


Tubergen "has incredible initiative to move forward with her ideas and art," Professor Morton says.


According to Tubergen's artist statement, her "artistic endeavors explore the space between nostalgia and cynicism. . . . Tubergen's objects, videos and actions incite curiosity and suggest a reconsideration of space and locational identity." Her artwork has been shown at such locations as the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Michigan, the Queens Museum in New York City, and the Harrison Center for the Arts in Indianapolis.