NEW YORK CITY: Theatre Communications Group (TCG) has announced recipients of the 2019 Willa Kim Costume Design Scholarship, a new initiative to provide support to costume design students enrolled in a professional training program in honor of Willa Kim. The inaugural recipients are students Victoria Nicolette Gist, Stella Katz, and Regan A. McKay. Each will receive up to $7,500 for school tuition, class registration, and supplies for painting and drawing classes beyond their core curriculum.
“Willa was passionate about making it possible for early-career costume designers to develop their skills in the arts of drafting and drawing, particularly as they decline in the advance of drafting software” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG, in a statement. “Thanks to support from the Estate of Willa Kim, this scholarship program will empower them to strengthen their craft and deepen the range of their artistry.”
The scholarship panel included costume designer and California State University, San Bernadino theatre arts professor, Andre Harrington; Irina Kruzhilina, costume designer and visual dramaturg; and Ilona Somogyi, costume designer and professor of design at the Yale School of Drama.
“TCG is thrilled to honor Willa Kim’s legacy and to take part in the development of future theatre artists through this scholarship,” said Emilya Cachapero, TCG’s director of artistic and international programs, in a statement. “In the inaugural round, we are excited to work with three exceptionally talented costume designers who will strengthen their ability to communicate visually with their collaborators. The scholarship recognizes the need to maintain the traditions of design and we couldn’t be more excited to offer this unique opportunity to the next generation.”
Victoria Nicolette Gist is currently pursuing an M.F.A in costume design at the University of Houston. As a recipient of the scholarship, she will receive training in figure drawing and painting at the Art League Houston. “I am a storyteller; one who creates a tangible, visual bridge for the audience into the world that the director has envisioned. Collaboration is key, and creativity is everything,” said Gist in a statement.
Stella Katz will take classes including fashion illustration and anatomy drawing at the Art Students League of New York. The Brooklyn-based designer is completing a B.A in theatre arts design and technology at the State University of New Paltz. “I love imperfection and humanness in costume,” said Katz in a statement. “Costume is not supposed to be perfect but should be curated in a way where everything has purpose. I want to fine tune my skills so I can better communicate the way I understand characters and people.”
Regan A. McKay of Wittenberg, Wisc., will begin her M.F.A in costume design at San Diego State University, supplementing her curriculum with painting and life drawing classes. “Costume design is the only area of entertainment design that involves such intimate and collaborative work with performers, and the designer’s role in fostering this relationship is essential,” said McKay in a statement.
Willa Kim was a costume designer for theatre, opera, ballet, and television. She received Tony Awards in costume design for Tommy Tune’s The Will Rogers Follies and Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies, and nominations for Peter Allen’s Legs Diamond, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Song & Dance, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, and Joel Grey’s Goodtime Charley. Kim won Drama Desk Awards for Jean Genet’s The Screens, Maria Irene Fornes’s Promenade, and Sam Shepard’s Operation Sidewinder; Obie Awards for Robert Lowell’s The Old Glory and Lanie Robertson’s Woman Before A Glass; and Emmy Awards for the PBS broadcasts of Michael Smuin’s ballets The Tempest and A Song For Dead Warriors. In 2007, she was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame, making her one of only a handful of costume designers honored.