Two professors receive Pollak Prizes for arts excellence; Myra Daleng honored for lifetime achievement

October 13, 2011

Two members of the University of Richmond faculty have won 2011 Theresa Pollak Prizes for Excellence in the Arts.

Myra Daleng, director of dance, won the Lifetime Achievement Award, and Tanja Softic, professor and chair of the Department of Art and Art History, won in the fine arts category.

Richmond Magazine presented the awards Oct. 11. They are named for painter Theresa Pollak, who graduated from the University of Richmond before founding and teaching in the fine arts programs at Virginia Commonwealth University and her alma mater. Other prizes recognized excellence in applied arts, dance, emerging artist, ensemble, film, instrumentalist, photography, theater and words.

Daleng has been director of dance at Richmond for 27 years, administering the dance program and teaching ballet, jazz, modern, tap, choreography and kinetics. She has choreographed numerous musicals for University Players productions. In 1985, she founded University Dancers, a student performing ensemble, and has been its artistic director for 25 years.

Daleng holds a bachelor of arts degree in dance from the University of Maryland and a master’s of dance from James Madison University. She is the recipient of the university’s Distinguished Educator Award. She previously was artistic director of Richmond Dance Center and performed as a principal dancer with the Richmond Ballet and Ballet Contemporary, the ballet’s modern company. She continues to train in New York City, Chicago and Boston.

Softic’s prints, drawings and paintings address factors of cultural hybridity that shape the identity and world view of an immigrant: displacement, longing, translation and memory. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Sarajevo and earned an M.F.A. in printmaking from Old Dominion University.

She is the recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Grant, National Endowment for the Arts/Southern Arts Federation Visual Artist Fellowship and Soros Foundation-Open Society Institute Exhibition Support Grant. Her work is included in numerous collections in the United States and abroad, including those at the New York Public Library, Library of Congress Print Department, and New South Wales Gallery of Art in Sydney, Australia.

Softic won first prize at the 5th Kochi (Japan) International Triennial Exhibition of Prints, and participated in the 12th International Print Triennial in Krakow, Poland.

# # #