— by Mellany Armstrong, Associate Director of Communications

Ciara Garcia, a Photography & Digital Arts major from Northeast Philadelphia, is the 2019 recipient of the Marian Locks Award. She will be acknowledged at Moore's 170th Commencement on Saturday, May 18.

“I was really surprised because I knew everyone else who was applying for it,” Garcia said. “My initial thought was, if I don’t get it, it will go to someone deserving. So when I did, it was a really big shock to me.”

Garcia plans to use the award money to help pay for tuition and housing when she enters the School of Visual Arts in New York City this fall to study directing and film. The Marian Locks Award, established in 2011 by the Locks Family Foundation, is a competitive award that pays tribute to Philadelphia icon Marian Locks’ pioneering spirit and vision, and her commitment to contemporary artists. The process of application and selection is overseen by the Locks Career Center and the Office of Student Affairs, with candidates judged by a panel of external jurors who are experts in their fields.

INNATE TALENT               

Artistic talent runs in the family. Garcia’s father taught her and her siblings how to draw.

“All of my siblings are into art, and my sister and I decided to pursue it, especially after hearing how my dad gave up art when he was younger so he could work and have money to take care of us,” she said. “We both ended up coming to Moore to not only fulfill him, but to make sure that creativity kept going.” Erica Garcia ’12, a Fashion Design alum, works at Tommy Hilfiger in New York. A brother works as a food scientist at Campbell Soup Co., and another brother works at a factory that makes MAC cosmetics.

Garcia loved fashion photography in high school, and initially studied at Delaware College of Art and Design.

“It wasn’t until I came here to Moore that I had the chance to explore more,” she said. “That’s when I realized that film was definitely something I wanted to do.”


One of Garcia’s goals is to work on the production team for Saturday Night Live.

“I think it’s not only a great show, but the production team is really creative and they move very fast in how they are able to create whole scenarios within a week,” she said. “I want to be part of that fast, creative track.”

She would also like to create sci-fi movies.

“I really want to make a world that isn’t real and make it feel real,” including doing installations and building sets. Her favorite sci-fi movie is Predator. “A lot of people are kind of shocked by that,” she said, because her photography has more documentary elements to it. Her senior thesis was a tribute to her grandmother, Blanche Williams. The installation includes a sofa, a table, floral wallpaper, and a book Garcia created containing photographs and letters she wrote to her grandmother after her death.

“My grandmother raised me practically until I was 15, so I decided since she never saw my art, it was time to make something for her,” Garcia said.

Garcia’s first step after graduation is to work. She has a summer job with Photo Pop Philly, an interactive art experience where people immerse themselves in installations and work from local artists.

“Part of me is really going to miss what I have right now,” she said. “It’s not only my friends I’m going to miss, I’ll miss a lot of the professors. I’m excited and anxious, but I’m ready to start the next chapter.”