Fiona Ross’s Fellowship Dollars Paid for More than Materials Alone


Painter Fiona Ross spent the Fellowship money she was awarded in 2005 on a variety of things to further her work, including travel, materials, and improvements to her studio. But the most valuable use of those dollars was buying time to focus on her art.

“Short term, I was able to teach one less class and devote the time to art making,” says Ross, who also is an adjunct professor at the University of Richmond. “The grant allowed me to focus on my career at an early point and enabled me to commit to a consistency in studio practice that I continue to this day.”

Not only did the award allow the artist to get her career off to a good start, but it also gave her a tremendous boost in confidence. The result was a string of group and solo exhibitions of her acrylic paintings on Yupo (a synthetic, recyclable paper made from polypropylene pellets) and ink drawings at universities and galleries across Virginia and beyond. This summer, Ross will also exhibit her work in a VMFA Statewide exhibition commemorating the Fellowship Program’s 75th anniversary at Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA.

A decade later, the painter and professor continues her relationship with the museum. Visiting and enjoying the art as a member, Ross also regularly brings her students here to introduce them to the museum and tour the collection and exhibitions.

Image caption: Dislocation of a More Complete Pattern, 2014, Fiona Ross (American, born 1965), acrylic on Yupo
Courtesy of Page Bond Gallery