When it comes to realizing her dreams, Francisca Palazuelos ’17 has always been prepared to move mountains. After all, the artist, who is a mother of two children and a Chilean native, has faced numerous uphill challenges throughout her life.
In 2012, when she chose to realize her long-held dream of completing college in a new country, she was met with many of them. Her goal entailed starting school from scratch in a foreign tongue while also juggling the expenses not just of her studies, but of raising a family and pursuing her newfound passion for printmaking.
“I didn’t speak proper English,” says Palazuelos of her days when applying to the College, when she also considered majoring in Latin American studies. However, after taking a printmaking class with studio art professor Barbara Duval, her world was transformed.
“I fell in love and didn’t want to do anything else,” says the artist, who has been able to combine her devotion to Latin America with her printmaking by creating images of the Andes Mountains. She is particularly inspired to share the beauty of her native Chile with those in her new home of Charleston.
With the support of the Duval Endowed Scholarship for Studio Art, Palazuelos reached her personal pinnacle. In December of 2017 she graduated from the College of Charleston with a robust body of work and profound sense of artistic accomplishment – one that culminated with a transformative residency at Charleston’s Gibbes Museum of Art.
After seeing his daughter, Elizabeth “Peyton” Cochran ’04, go through school as a studio arts major and seeing firsthand how much support artists like her need, C. Moffett Cochran established the scholarship in honor of Duval to further the School of the Arts’ efforts to recruit and retain the most talented students in studio art.
For Palazuelos, a nontraditional student who came to college later in life, the support has made all the difference. By receiving funds specifically earmarked for expenses like printmaking paper and other materials, she was not torn between making her art and providing for her daughters.
“For me, it was a huge relief,” she says.
What’s more, being selected to receive the scholarship also gave the artist some deeply appreciated encouragement from her teachers at the College.
“It gave me such confidence to know my teachers believed in me,” she says, noting that there were so many talented students in the program.
And, says Duval, those talented students found Palazuelos to be a motivating force in her printmaking class.
“Her discipline and motivation set an example,” Duval recalls.
In her art and her life, Palazuelos will keep moving mountains. She will do so from her beloved Lowcountry by sharing the beauty of the faraway Andes.
What’s more, she will continue to reach her artistic goals, no matter how steep the obstacles.