VMFA awards 28 fellowships to Virginia students and artists

This year marked the highest number of applicants in program’s history

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts awarded 28 fellowships to Virginia art students and professional artists in 2013-14 for a total of $168,000.

VMFA received 771 applications for the 2013-14 cycle, the highest number since the program’s inception. During the Fellowship Program’s 73 years, the museum has awarded approximately $5 million and 1,200 awards to Virginia’s art students and professional artists.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts continues its commitment to nurture artists throughout the Commonwealth,” Director Alex Nyerges said. “We are grateful to the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg for establishing a VMFA endowment that makes this support possible, as well as others who have contributed funds to further this mission-based objective throughout the years.”

Twelve professional fellowships, each worth $8,000, were awarded. The recipients are (in alphabetical order by hometown): Marc Maiorana (crafts) of Cedar Bluff; William Connally (photography) of Charlottesville; Warren Craghead III (drawing) of Charlottesville; Blade Wynne (painting) of Chesapeake; Michelle Erickson (crafts) of Hampton; Jason Hackett (crafts) of Henrico; Stephen W. Brandt (film/video) of Henrico; Susan Iverson (crafts) of Montpelier; Megan Marlatt (painting) of Orange; Amanda Baldwin (painting) of Richmond; Polina Grinberg (film/video) of Richmond; and Matthew Warren (photography) of Richmond.

The juror for the professional fellowship awards was Michael Darling, the James W. Alsdorf chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Five graduate students won awards worth $6,000 each. They are: John Charleton Hawley III (art history) of Charlottesville; Melanie Kobran (photography) of Leesburg; Jake Borndal (sculpture) of Richmond; Caryn Brissey (film/video) of Richmond; and Sean Sweeney (painting) of Yorktown.

Ten undergraduate students won awards worth $4,000 each. They are: Eli McMullen (painting) of Alexandria; Denney Turner (photography) of Franklin; Skye Young (drawing) of Leesburg; Brittany Arnold (crafts) of Richmond; Kimberly A. Barnes (film/video) of Richmond; Noelle Choy (sculpture) of Richmond; Miranda Elliott (photography) of Richmond; Rob Walker, Jr. (film/video) of Richmond; Hunter Harold Mayton (mixed media) of Virginia Beach; and Jamie Parkerson (mixed media) of Virginia Beach.

In addition, undergraduate student Margaret Grymes (sculpture) of Richmond was awarded a fellowship worth $2,000 for her final semester.

The jurors for the undergraduate and graduate awards were Stefanie Fedor, the executive director of the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Va., and Crawford Alexander Mann III, the Brock curator of American art at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Va.

The fellowship funds come from a privately-endowed fund administered by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Fellowship Program was established in 1940 through a generous contribution made by the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg (the husband of Lillian Pratt, donor of the museum’s Fabergé collection). Offered through the VMFA Art and Education Division, fellowships are still largely funded through the Pratt endowment and supplemented by annual gifts from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation and the J. Warwick McClintic Jr. Scholarship Fund.


About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
VMFA’s permanent collection encompasses more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of world history. Its collections of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, English silver, Fabergé, and the art of South Asia are among the finest in the nation. With acclaimed holdings in American, British Sporting, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist, and Modern and Contemporary art – and additional strengths in African, Ancient, East Asian, and European – VMFA ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. Programs include educational activities and studio classes for all ages, plus fun after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.