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USU Faculty Member Receives Distinguished Awards

Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013

USU photography professor Christopher Gauthier

USU photography professor Christopher Gauthier is the recipient of a 2013 Visual Arts Fellowship from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. He has also been named Individual of the Year by the Autism Council of Utah.

Utah State University’s Christopher Gauthier, assistant professor of photography in the Department of Art and Design, was recently named the Individual of the Year by the Autism Council of Utah and received a 2013 Visual Arts Fellowship from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums.

“Professor Gauthier’s passion and commitment to families and individuals dealing with autism is poignantly combined with his great talent as a photographer,” said Craig Jessop, dean of the Caine College of the Arts at USU. “We are very proud of Chris and these wonderful recognitions he has received for his work.”

The Individual of the Year award from the Autism Council of Utah is given to those who make an exceptional effort to bring about positive change for individuals with autism and their families. Gauthier also received an invitation to sit on the National Advisory Board for the Madison House Autism Foundation, an organization dedicated to creating awareness and finding solutions for adults with autism to make their own choices and live as independently as possible.

“It is exciting for the department to have one of our faculty members recognized by national organizations of this caliber,” said Laura Gelfand, head of the Department of Art and Design. “Professor Gauthier’s photography brings awareness to a disorder that impacts many families and encourages research on the causes and potential cures for autism.”

Gauthier is also the recipient of the 2013 Visual Arts Fellowship from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. Sixty-six people applied for the fellowship, and Gauthier was one of two recipients chosen. Mark Finch Hendengren, a photographer in Provo who is exploring how and why people recreate in nature, was the other recipient.

“The Visual Arts Fellowship is a wonderful recognition of the work that Christopher Gauthier is doing in using his photography to encourage positive social change,” said Nicholas Morrison, senior associate dean of the Caine College of the Arts. “This award is the highest honor offered to an individual visual artist by the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, and the college is proud of the contributions Christopher is making to his field.”

This is the first time that the fellowship has been awarded to two photographers. Juror Richard Roth, artist and faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a statement that because of the “urgency and insightfulness of their missions,” both were chosen to receive the fellowship.

Gauthier’s project, “Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism,” documents those with a disorder on the autism spectrum, as well as their family members, medical professionals, teachers, advocates and researchers. For him, the project is both a call to action and an honor to those rising to the challenge autism presents every day.

“There are unsung heroes all around us who make a choice at a critical moment that changes the trajectory of a life,” said Gauthier.

Gauthier is the second faculty member from the Department of Art and Design to receive a fellowship from the Utah Division of Arts and Museums. In 2011, assistant professor of printmaking Kathy Puzey won the fellowship as well.

“Being selected for this fellowship is a great honor and it’s exciting to think that both Kathy and I have received this,” said Gauthier.

The fellowship includes a $10,000 award to each recipient and a short documentary about the artist, co-produced by Utah Arts and Museums and, a visual arts magazine.

“I would love to work more closely with grass-roots community organizations to be sure the project includes populations that are underrepresented or underserved in the autism community,” said Gauthier. “The Visual Arts Fellowship gives me the opportunity to travel to make more photographs and extends the depth and breadth of the project beyond my initial vision.”

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Writer: Kara Rindlisbacher, 435-797-9203,

Contact: Denise Albiston, 435-797-1500,

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