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Painting Award Exhibit Opens Lydon Gallery

Jessica Tawczynski’s Work Displayed

UMass Lowell Image Jessica Tawczynski by Ed Collier
The first UMass Lowell painting award winner, senior Jessica Tawczynski, with her exhibit in the new Lydon Gallery. Photo by Ed Collier

By Julia Gavin

Lydon Library has a new art exhibition space that will feature work by the University community. The work of Jessica Tawczynski, a senior painter, is featured  as the first winner of the UMass Lowell Painting Award and Scholarship.

“Everyone’s reactions have been great,” says Tawczynski, whose paintings are on display for the month of September. “I’m really excited for the opportunity and appreciate the recognition and support. I paint for myself, but it’s rewarding that others like my work and can get something out of it through this exhibit.”

The newly redesigned gallery has space and lighting to display several pieces of 2D or 3D work. The changes and award are a collaboration between Vice Provost for Graduate Education Don Pierson, the library department and art department.

“It’s important to recognize student accomplishments in all academic fields. I am always impressed by the quality of work in the Annual Student Art Show, and feel the outstanding talent should be displayed around the University, where it can inspire and be appreciated by many people,” says Pierson, who also displays work by Tawczynski in his office. “The Lydon Gallery provides a wonderful venue for display. I am pleased that our Director of Libraries, George Hart, and art Prof. (Stephen) Mishol were able to coordinate this award.”

The opportunity to reach a new audience on campus is exciting for Tawczynski. Many students have said they like having student art on north campus, and that they can connect her style to their studies. Her linear, deconstructed architecture paintings appeal to many of the scientific and structure-based students, several of whom have expressed surprise at Tawczynski’s painting style.

“They’ve said that they didn’t know art could be like this, and now they’re more intrigued by it,” says Tawczynski, referencing paintings that feature architectural references to both Lowell and Israel, where she traveled over the summer with fellow art students. 

Visiting the desert region with ancient architecture flowing into contemporary buildings influenced her painting as well as her class choices. Her geology course has introduced a changing palette to her work, as her climate and weather class did last semester. 

Tawczynski, who will graduate in the spring, feels that the award and exhibit are more steps in her progression as a professional artist. 
“I didn’t know painting as a career was an option before I got here,” says Tawczynski. “But I’ve had a lot of different opportunities in my time here with materials, collaborations across departments and overseas connections that have shown me the possibilities. I already feel like a working artist.”