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Although he has just finished his first year at Lafayette, Christopher Michaud of Millerton, N.Y., is already working with one of the nation’s leading innovative printmakers.

Michaud, a graduate of Webutuck High School, is the recipient of a prestigious Trustee Scholarship at Lafayette. He participating in the distinctive EXCEL Scholars program, in which students collaborate closely with faculty on research projects while earning a stipend.

Michaud is working with Curlee Raven Holton, associate professor of art and director of Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute. They are collaborating on both traditional printmaking and experimental printmaking that incorporates digital technology. Michaud is learning by doing work for Holton and other artists and by making his own prints.

Holton explains, “The printmaking studio recently acquired the necessary equipment to begin research involving advanced serigraph, or printmaking, technology and the integration of digital technology. However, there is a need to develop the appropriate technical processes and instructional documentation. Chris is assisting me in the manual and artistic interface between the serigraph equipment and the digital equipment.”

Michaud and Holton are testing printing inks for serigraph and digital imaging to see which medium is better suited for printing. They are also investigating which papers have the best surfaces for ink-jet printing and serigraph inks.

Michaud’s first project was a series of woodcuts for a Mexican artist. His work has included taking a drawing by the award-winning American artist Faith Ringgold, best known today for her painted story quilts — art that combines painting, quilted fabric and storytelling, and making an etching plate from it. His responsibilities will include helping the professor execute a series of large prints consisting of ten sections, each 30 by 42 inches. The works will be part of an exhibition at the Museum of Art in San Jose, Costa Rica.

“I’m planning to double-major in art and music,” Michaud says. “In this setting, I can play around on the computer as I please and work on someone’s etching, then do whatever I want. In that regard, I’m like one of the visiting artists. This is giving me a lot more individual attention than a class would.

“I feel that I have a lot to learn, so I’m just going all out and doing as much as I can,” Michaud adds. “What you put into this is what you get out of it. The facilities and opportunities are here if you’re willing to get them and use them. It’s all about desire.”

Holton’s areas of interest and expertise include printmaking, African American art history, drawing, and painting. He has mounted more than 30 one-person shows and has participated in more than 75 group exhibitions, including the Seventh International Biennale at the National Center of Fine Arts, Cairo, and shows at Centro de Cultura Casa Lamm Gallery, Mexico City. His works are in the collections of several universities, foundations, and corporations.

Holton has participated in several residencies and special projects and has served as curator for a dozen exhibitions. He has also authored many articles and essays and presented many papers. Michaud appreciates the artistic freedom that Holton is allowing him.

“Professor Holton is fun to be an around and an overall interesting guy. He leaves you a lot of room for your own stuff. When he gives direction, he doesn’t set everything for you. He just lets you go.”


Along with taking saxophone and guitar lessons during his first year at Lafayette, Michaud was first tenor for the Jazz Ensemble and played in the Pep Band and Concert Band. He was a member of the pit orchestra for production of Guys and Dolls, the 15th annual musical staged by the Marquis Players for the benefit of local charities.

Categorized in: Academic News