Valleri Rami says she could not have reached the level of technical skill and artistic autonomy had it not been for the rigor of classes and support from the professors in the Ceramics program at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual & Performing Arts (CVPA). “I knew before I came here that it had a great reputation and produced several well-known artists, but I never could have anticipated just how much growth I’d have here.”
Born in Mumbai, India, and raised in Grand Forks, ND, Valleri had defined her artistic vision even before entering college, and she is steadily following her path toward success. “I’ve always wanted to hit a certain standard with my work and I feel that I’m starting to get close to that caliber.” Valleri holds a BA in psychology from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN as well as a post-baccalaureate certificate in ceramics. She is currently completing the final phase of her MFA program at the CVPA.
“As a CVPA student, I’ve met so many great artists through the visiting artist lecture/demo series, and of course my studio mates are incredibly talented as well. I’m very proud of the community we’ve maintained these last few years.” Supplementing her studies with leadership activities built her skills, knowledge, and self-confidence. “As the Ceramics club treasurer, I was responsible for keeping track of fundraising and sales, paying the visiting artist stipends, and club scholarships,” Valleri says. “I had never worked with accounts and budgets before, and at times it was daunting trying to keep everything in order, especially during the middle of a busy semester. I’m happy I had the experience though because I ended up really liking it.”
She was also part of a four-person Graduate Committee Liaison team. “We acted as the go-between for communications and negotiations between department faculty and graduate MFA students concerning assistantships, the course and event schedules, and studio access.” While it was a highly visible position, Valleri says, “I preferred the more behind-the-scene parts, like polling students’ preferences for various events and issues and drafting requests/letters.”
When asked about one of the most remarkable experiences she had as an MFA student, she said, “I am very grateful for the leadership experience that I’ve had at UMass Dartmouth. I’ve learned so much about my own personal leadership style. I feel a little more confident. Verbal and written communication, professionalism, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills are valued traits across all disciplines, so I’m thankful to have had the time and opportunity to practice and build up those skills.” Valleri is the 2019 recipient of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Multicultural Fellowship. Learn more about her work.