Tryon Prize for Writing

A jury awards monetary prizes for outstanding writing related to art seen at the Smith College Museum of Art. Writing may take any form including a thesis, essay or poetry. 

Submission Guidelines

You must include a cover sheet with your name, class year, campus address, email, and phone. Do not include your name in a header on the pages of your submission. If the work was written for a class, include the description of the assignment. Send your submission in a MS Word document format (docx) with your last name as title.


Send submissions to

All entries must be received by Thursday, May 2, 2019.

For more information please contact 413.585.2677.


The Tryon Prizes are named for Dwight W. Tryon, painter, professor of art at Smith College from 1886 to 1923, and benefactor of the Smith College Museum of Art (SCMA). The Tryon Prize is endowed by members of SCMA’s Visiting Committee.


Tryon Prize Awards for Writing


Athena Sofides '19

  • Embodied Toxicity in the Plasticene: BPA, BPS, and the Political Ecology of Endocrine Disruption (Honors Thesis submitted to the Department of Environmental Science and Policy)
    • The jury recognized this interdisciplinary submission that was influenced by and included analysis of art in Plastic Entanglements. The following is an excerpt from the Introduction:

      "Along with itself being art, interdisciplinary ecological work can also use art to explain, depict, or comment on a socio-ecological issue. In addition to being descriptive, art can engage, whether critically, emotionally, intellectually, or some combination of those. As social theorist and philosopher Michel Foucault explains in Madness and Civilization, 'a work of art opens a void… [it] provokes a breach without reconciliation where the world is forced to question itself' (Foucault, 1965, 274). Engaging in interdisciplinary work necessitates provocation, as the ecological researcher/writer/artist is brought to question their training. This training often fails to prepare a researcher for the many nuances, entanglements, and intersections of socioecological issues; as such, scholars must '[move] beyond the interdisciplinary prejudices in to which [they] are trained,' explain the authors of Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, 'to instead take a generous view of what varied knowledge practices may offer' (Tsing, Swanson, Gan, Bubandt, 2017, G2). Aspiring towards artistic form, this project weaves together several 'knowledge practices,' from writing about art to practicing the art of scientific communication, telling an interdisciplinary story as accessibly and holistically as possible."

Honorable Mention:

Yasmine Vera '20

  • High Tide: Submerged Histories and Mutable Being in El Muro (essay + wall label)

Aidan Wright '22

  • Nurture Museum (poem)


Sarah White '20

  • Border Looking: Politics of Space in Park Chang-Kyong's Three Cementeries and Clarrisa Tossin's Streamlined (Essay)


Tessa Goldsher '17

  • Ghada Amer's Kiss Cross: Crafting Sexuality and Cultural Hybridity in Disapora (Essay)


The Prize was awarded equally among:

Joan Brunetta '17J

  • The Position of Hell in the Gallery Is a Happy Coincidence (Poetry)

Brenda Wacuka Njoroge ’18

  • Let Her Woman (Poetry)

Samantha Page '17

  • Art, Taste and Money: Exploring the Motivations Behind Deaccessioning at the Smith College Museum of Art (Essay)


Candace Kang '15

  • Formation of Smith College Museum of Art Collection & Relationship with Department Stores

Honorable Mention:

Emma Mooney '16

  • Life Through a Scrim: Lady with Cello and the Role of Women in Victorian America

Molly Grover AC2015

  • Nayarit Womanhood: How Much Can a Single Figure Reveal?


Katherine Trudeau, '14

  • Miss Representation: Jaune Quick-to-See-Smith's Push Against Expectations 


Jamie Samdahl ’15

  • June (a poem after Christ of the Incas by Georges Henri Rouault)

Anna Mokros ‘13 & Shama Rahman ’13

  • Introducing a Portrait Gallery to Smith College Museum of Art

Honorable Mention

Susan Liang, ’13

  • Being Contemporary: The Contemporaneity of Contemporary Chinese Art


Vanessa Brewster AC

  • Painted Words (poetry)

Margaret Kurkoski ’12

  • Pieces of the Past: Romanization in the House of Cilicia

Honorable Mention

Amy Lam ’12

  • Daily Leisure (painting by Zou Li) & The Maple Leaf (poem by Han Cuiping)


Erin Kelly AC

  • Schoolteacher, The Pear Tree, and Charcoal Ghost (poetry)
  • Second Prize

Phoebe Harris ’11

  • Milk and Water


Alessandra Amin ’12

  • Instabilities of Form, Norm: Subjectivity in Mary Bauermeister’s Joie et Nuit


Emily Casey '09

  • ‘A fully-developed womanhood’: the collecting of fine art and a woman's education at Smith College,1875-1910.


Katrina Greene ’08

  • Constructing a Tragedy: Geometric Analysis of the Daughter of Jephthah

Marja van der Loo ’08

  • The Girl Next Door: The Quest for Privacy in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Homes

Rebecca Mueller ’08

  • The Death of J.P. Morgan


No entries were selected for an award.


Carolyn Creedon AC

  • Evensong, The Real Apple, Hillyer Blues, Inside and Outside (poetry)


Debra Klein ‘07

  • Echo Lake, Franconia Mountains, New Hampshire: Albert Bierstadt's Vision of Harmony and Balance

Sharon Davenport AC

  • Performing Modernity: La Table

Maeve Montalvo ‘07

  • An Echoing Gaze and Wordless Song: Form as Narrative in Albert Bierstadt's Echo Lake


Rachel Fendler ‘04

  • Method and Meaning in ‘Minkisi Minkondi’

Morgan Beucler ‘04

  • Flat-bottomed Aryballos

Honorable Mention

Rebecca Alexander ‘04

  • Do-Ho Suh and Yinka Shonibare:  Exploring the Ambiguities of ‘Home’