A hand reaches into a berry bush

Rose Vincelli Gustine (’23) and Sean Mac (’23) awarded SVA’s Alumni Scholarship Awards

We’d like to congratulate Rose Vincelli Gustine and Sean Mac for receiving the 2023 Alumni Scholarship Awards! Both of the Class of ’23 students were recognized for stories they’re working on in the MFA Visual Narrative program at SVA.

Rose Vincelli Gustine is a filmmaker’s advisor and producer. She is Director of Operations and on the faculty of SVA’s MFA Social Documentary Film program. As a producer, story structure and grant writing is her focus. She excels at “distilling wide-ranging stories into spicy bites, and engaging audiences with multi-faceted slices of real life.”

Rose submitted a proposal for the film she’s working on titled, ‘What We Discover Along the Way.’ Her synopsis is a compelling and rich journey into an unexpected and delightful place.


From her description of the film:

Imagine a green place. A river rushes by, cardinals chirp. Walking with your forager friend, you find a feast: a salad of dandelion, purslane, and violet leaves, some raspberries. Now, situate this between the elevated tracks of the 6 train, the Bronx River, and the high rises of Hunts Point in the South Bronx. It is still a verdant oasis, just— different.

Photograph of the Bronx Foodway with lush green in the fioreground and the Bronx in the background

This is the Bronx Foodway in Concrete Plant Park, an edible forest that forager Journei Bimwala tends — and that land is nourishing the community. The Foodway is a pilot program of the NYC Parks department & Bronx River Alliance, allowing free public access to the dozens of healing herbs and edible fruits that grow here. Foraging is illegal in the rest of New York City; as in most of the U.S. The ban is a holdover of old, racist laws meant to prosecute free blacks and Native Americans.

For Journei, land stewardship is a radical act of reparations: “For African Americans, this was taken away from us, this ability to heal ourselves, to feed ourselves. And if you take something from me, I’m going to take it back.”

A woman carrie a basket of food on her back as she walks through a garden she tends, smiling.

For the latest on this project, follow Rose on Instagram. More of her work can be seen on her website.

Sean Mac is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Chicago. His passion is “creating fun stories about colorful characters and printing them using a Risograph. My hope with my work is to create a giggle, smile, or excitement with finely crafted, and expressive Riso printed books.”

Sean’s story is a comic book titled ‘Stripped.’ It’s about newspaper comic strip characters and their reaction to one of their oldest cohorts being replaced by a robot. Sean shared this spread with us so you can get a taste of what’s to come. Click the image for a closer look.

A two-page spread of 'The Funny Pages' by Sean Mac shows different black and white comic strips

‘Stripped’ brings together a lot of older stories Sean has worked on. The main character, Buppy, is an old favorite from strips past. Considering Sean’s playful cartoon style, the story is a bit of a twist. In it, Buppy is an artist who’s scraping by when A.I. comes along.

You can follow Sean on Instagram to keep track of his progress on the comic. You’ll also find more of Sean’s stories on his website.

Read more about this year’s recipients here. The scholarship is awarded by the SVA Alumni Society.

Their mission statement:

SVA Alumni Society, Inc. is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that works to provide support for SVA’s most promising students. The Society works in conjunction with the Alumni Affairs and Development office at the School of Visual Arts serving as the vehicle for granting select student scholarships and merit awards and soliciting donations to fund the programs. Due to support from the School of Visual Arts, 100% of all donations to the Alumni Society go directly to the education and financial needs of current SVA students.

Read more about the organization and consider donating here.

Again, congratulations Rose and Sean!