Now that the 2014-15 VMFA Fellowship recipients have been announced, we at VMFA thought it might be fun to take a look ‘behind the scenes’ and explore a few facts about the Fellowship that you might not know.
To start, did you know that the Fellowship has become an increasingly competitive process? While VMFA has offered approximately 30 Fellowships each year for the past 5 years, the number of applications received has skyrocketed (the Fellowship is funded in large part by an endowment, which determines how many awards we able to give out each year). For the 2009 cycle, VMFA received 582 applications, which seems like a big number on its own. But let’s compare that to the number of applications received for this year’s 2014 cycle – in November 2013, VMFA received a whopping 798 applications, the highest in the program’s history!
And did you know that of those 798 applicants, all six major regions of Virginia are represented? Each year, VMFA receives applications from all over the state – administratively, these areas are called Southwest Virginia, Southside, Northern, Central, Tidewater, and the Valley. And Fellowship records show that applications have been received from each of those regions since at least the 2000 award cycle.
So if this is such a competitive process, what can we say to make you consider applying for a Fellowship in the future? Here are two great reasons: 1) there is no application fee – the Fellowship is literally a chance to win free money! 2) the selection is process is anonymous – it doesn’t matter if you are a first-time artist or a seasoned professional, a student pursuing a degree in the visual arts or a business major with hidden artistic talents – no identifying information about the applicant is revealed to the jurors, and Fellowships are selected totally and completely based on the artistic merit of the applicant’s work sample. Everyone is viewed on an equal playing field, and has an equal chance at being selected!
Thanks to the generous endowment of the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg, and additional funding provided by the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation and the J. Warwick McClintic Jr. Scholarship Fund, the Fellowship program has awarded almost $5 million to over 1200 Virginians since its creation in 1940. Fellowships are offered through VMFA Statewide, and we plan to continue offering this great opportunity to Virginia’s talented artists! So if you are an undergraduate or graduate student (graduate students in art history, you can apply for a Fellowship too) or a professional artist, consider taking a few moments to check us out, and apply for this esteemed award. Applications for the 2015-16 cycle are due Friday November 7, 2014, and the application will be available on the website this summer. Good luck!
-Elizabeth Cruickshanks, VMFA Fellowship Program Coordinator
Editor’s note: Elizabeth has capably served the VMFA Fellowship program since Fall 2009. We are grateful to her for her innovation, tenacity and scholarship.