The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV welcomes new Artist-in-Residence chair to campus

GVL / Alena Visnovsky

Kate Levy, a filmmaker, multimedia artist and documentarian, was named the new Grand Valley State University Stuart B. And Barbara Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence Chair. GVSU celebrated Levy’s accomplishments through an introductive welcome event on Sept. 13, creating a space for students and faculty to get to know their Artist-in-Residence, ask questions, and understand more about Levy’s new role for the coming year. 

The award was created in 2005 to promote the teaching of art at GVSU. The chair position is designed to help “enhance the learning experience of both majors and non-majors” for students in the Department of Visual and Media Arts and GVSU.

As the Artist-in-Residence, Levy has the opportunity to not only live on campus but to teach an art and activism class where she will interact with students and faculty. Levy said the opportunity to teach creates a unique relationship where she is learning from students and with them. 

“The goals are to have a very cross-disciplinary conversation and also be present on the campus and share my work, which is an honor to do,” Levy said.

Levy has already met with different members of GVSU to merge art into other aspects of education and began teaching her specific course at the start of the 2023 fall semester.

Levy’s work in film and multimedia journalism has spanned a decade. According to Levy’s website, all of her films feature “cultural narratives and the relationship between the every day and the catastrophic.” Levy’s catalog is a mixture of documentary work, filmmaking and interdisciplinary arts. 

A Royal Oak, Mich. native, Levy has been working on projects in Michigan for years while also doing freelance. Levy said there is something special about the work she is currently doing with GVSU because it is pushing her out of her comfort zone.

“Getting to explore the work, how the work might come together and not knowing exactly what I’m doing is something I don’t always get to experience. Usually, I know exactly how it’s going to turn out especially when I’m freelancing,” Levy said.

Levy is currently working on an ongoing project about her family’s relationship with the industrial plants, focusing on “different layers of how workers are exploited.” She plans to make site-specific installations to add to her project and will continue to look at difficult topics. She also is working on a project titled “The Futures Been Here,” which looks at the difficulties those native to Detroit are facing and the resilience of those who continue to make Detroit and the surrounding areas their home. 

 Lauren Gilmore, a GVSU art student, identified with Levy’s passion and compassion for Detroit.

“It makes me feel inspired,” Gilmore said. “(Detroit) is my city, and there are people who see the potential in it and want to see it thrive.”

In the future, Levy hopes to continue working on her current projects and make an impact on students in the community, pushing them to take a closer look at their own homes and communities.

“(I want students to) feel closer to their communities and closer to where they live, (ask) more questions about where they live and how the world works and feel inspired to get involved in activism and be introduced to the process of looking deeper into the world,” Levy said.

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