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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) awards 27 fellowships to Virginia students and artists

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts awarded 27 fellowships to Virginia art students and professional artists in 2012-13 for a total of $157,000.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

During the VMFA Fellowship Program’s 72 years, the museum has awarded more than $4.6 million and 1,174 awards to Virginia’s art students and professional artists. VMFA received 755 applications, which marks the highest number of applicants in the program’s history.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is committed to supporting the commonwealth’s artists and art students,” VMFA 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 added funds to the endowment throughout the years.”

Eleven professional fellowships, each worth $8,000, were awarded. The recipients are (in alphabetical order by hometown): Andrew Zimmermann (photography) of Arlington; Edgar Endress (mixed media-collaborative) of Lynchburg with Peter Lee (mixed media-collaborative) of Oakton, Gwynneth VanLaven (mixed media-collaborative) of McLean and Sean Watkins (mixed media-collaborative) of Springfield; Richard Robinson (film/video) of Orange; Katie Baines (painting) of Richmond; Jeremy Drummond (mixed media) of Richmond; Corin Hewitt (mixed media) of Richmond; Matt King (sculpture) of Richmond; Melanie McLain (mixed media) of Richmond; Dana Ollestad (mixed media) of Richmond; Edward M. Shenk (mixed media) of Richmond; and J.T. Kirkland (painting) of Sterling.

The juror for the professional fellowship awards was Scott Rothkopf, curator of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

Four graduate students won awards worth $6,000 each. They are: Michael Maizels (art history) of Charlottesville; Samantha Mitchell (crafts) of Grottoes; Hailey Doss (printmaking) of Rocky Mount; and Jon Henry (sculpture) of Washington.

In addition, graduate student Amber Rhodey (film/video) of Vienna was awarded a fellowship worth $3,000 for her final semester.

Ten undergraduate students won awards worth $4,000 each. They are: Amy Harris (painting) of Ashland; Gabriel Kendra (photography) of Falls Church; Natalie Kaminski (sculpture) of Gainesville; Rebecca Kuzemchak (painting) of Glen Allen; Elizabeth Crawford (photography) of Ivor; David Reinhold (film/video) of Midlothian; Alexander Curley (drawing) of Richmond; Barbara Pearsall (sculpture) of Richmond; Sean Donlon (crafts) of Springfield; and Hunter Mayton (mixed media) of Virginia Beach.

In addition, undergraduate student Christina Costello (film/video) of Stafford was awarded a fellowship worth $2,000 for her final semester.

The jurors for the graduate and undergraduate awards were Gary Freeburg, director of the Sawhill Gallery at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. and Dr. Katherine Smith, associate professor of art at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga.

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 Karl 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
With a collection of art that spans the globe and more than 5,000 years, plus a wide array of special exhibitions, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) is recognized as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States. The museum’s permanent collection encompasses more than 22,000 works of art, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside Russia and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art. VMFA is home to acclaimed collections of English Silver and Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British Sporting and Contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its 75-year history. 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. General admission is always free. For additional information, telephone 804-340-1400 or visit

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