VMFA awards more than $5 million to Virginia artists in the past 75 years

A total of $162,000 awarded to 27 Virginia artists and students this year

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ Fellowship Program. With this year’s awards, fellowship grants will exceed a total of $5 million with 1,250 awards to Virginia artists since the program’s inception in 1940. The Virginia Museum awarded 27 fellowships to Virginia art students and professional artists in 2015-16 for a total of $162,000.


“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts celebrates this 75th year of 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 an endowment that makes this support possible, as well as others who have contributed funds to further this mission-based objective throughout the years.”

A dedicated microsite to the 75-year history of the program is at vmfa.museum/programs/75th-anniversary/

Twelve professional fellowships, each worth $8,000, were awarded. The recipients are (in alphabetical order by hometown): Everitt Clark, photography, Alexandria; Travis Head, drawing, Blacksburg; Will May, photography, Charlottesville; Charles Peale, mixed media, Charlottesville; Daniel Calder, painting, Glen Allen; Kelly Queener, painting, Henrico; Mariam Eqbal, film/video, Richmond; Susie Ganch, crafts, Richmond; Sonali Gulati, film/video, Richmond; Morgan Herrin, sculpture, Richmond; Ester Partegas, photography, Richmond; Tyler Rhodes, new/emerging media, Richmond. This marks a second fellowship win for both Will May and Sonali Gulati. May is a recipient of a graduate fellowship in 2004 and Gulati, an associate professor in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Photography Film Department, is a recipient of a professional fellowship in 2009.

The juror for the professional fellowship awards was Jen Mergel, Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Mass.

Four graduate students won awards worth $6,000 each. They are: Mary Ann Ginsberg, art history, Arlington; Elisabeth Hogeman, photography, Falls Church; Tara Ott, new/emerging media, Harrisonburg; and Alicia Dietz, crafts, Richmond.

Ten undergraduate students won awards worth $4,000 each. They are: Cody Huff, film/video, Abingdon; Scout Ries, photography, Arlington; Adrienne Puckett, drawing, Glen Allen; Zoe Powell, crafts, Mechanicsville; Marisa O’Kleasky, photography, Midlothian; Sara Joachim, photography, Norfolk; Miles Barnett, sculpture, Richmond; Claire Burn, drawing, Richmond; Morgan Hayes, new/emerging media, Richmond; and Kevin Gotscholk, printmaking, Sparta. Miles Barnett and Marisa O’Keasky are high school seniors who will be attending college next fall.

In addition, undergraduate student Jeremiah Houston Morris, photography, of Mount Crawford was awarded a fellowship worth $2,000 for his final semester.

The jurors for the undergraduate and graduate awards were: Emily Burns, Ph.D., assistant professor of American Art at Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., and Alison Byrne, director of exhibitions and education at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, 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 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 lively after-hours events. VMFA’s Statewide Partnership program includes traveling exhibitions, artist and teacher workshops, and lectures across the Commonwealth. VMFA, a certified Virginia Green attraction, is open 365 days a year and general admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit www.vmfa.museum.

# # #