Five scholarships funded by the Thomas Chen Family/Crystal Windows Endowment were awarded to students at Queens College in a ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The initiative aims to support Asian contemporary art in the college.
Well known author and journalist Ting Chian Wang was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Queens College President Frank H. Wu.
Philanthropist Thomas Chen, who also established the endowment in 2021, spoke at the event, which took place in the Klapper Hall Student Art Gallery, where a student art exhibit showcased work by the scholarship recipients.
“I am so proud that the Chen Family/Crystal Windows endowment is supporting the Queens College art programs,” said Chen, chairman and founder of Crystal Window and Door Systems. “Today we recognize these great endowment student scholarship winners, and it is very gratifying to be able to help them further their art education and future careers.”
The scholarship recipients were chosen through a student competition, which drew a wide variety of submissions, and evaluated by outside jurors.
Elizabeth Hanson, Ryan Tong, Wei Wang, and Michele Wu were the four undergraduates who received $3,500 each toward their studies. One graduate student, Eugenie Chao received $7,000.
Hanson, a BFA student in studio art, created ceramic vessels using the traditional Japanese kuriniki technique of hand building. The technique, which is unique to Japan, explores form and surface through a process of carving a surface from a solid block of clay, then hollowing out the inside.
Tong, a BFA student in studio art, developed work based on his research into contemporary and cultural ceramics such as Guangdong ceramics, using his art to explore his identity and voice as an Asian American.
Queens College President Frank H.Wu spoke about the impact of the work of journalist and author Ting Chian Wang and his lifetime achievements as well as how the contributions of Chen have helped students in the college.
“Here in the heart of Queens, we are pleased to spotlight the contributions of Asian writers and authors to today’s important cultural conversations,” said Wu. “Ting Chian Wang has been an enormously influential writer, journalist and teacher — one who enjoys a deserved international reputation. Our students in the School of Arts are just beginning their careers, but through the generosity of Thomas Chen, we are much better able to support their explorations in contemporary Asian art. Their student work will help them emerge as accomplished artists in future.”
The Thomas Chen Family/Crystal Windows Endowment to support Asian contemporary art at the college through exhibitions, student scholarships, and a visiting artist program began in 2021 with a gift to Queens College of $1,105,000. Chen is an immigrant and entrepreneur who founded Crystal Window and Door Systems in Queens and is a major supporter of Asian culture and art as well as educational initiatives for immigrants.