Got my rejection from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts fellowship program today. Here are the winners in the Professional and Graduate categories -
PROFESIONAL Awards ($8,000)
Judith Baumann - previous post on Judith's work here. She has a good website but it's down. I'll link to it later.
Craig Dennis and Susan Eder
Emily Hall - previous post on Emily's work here.
Joel Holmberg - previous post on Joel's work here.
Fiona Ross - currently featured in New American Paintings.
David Williams - how many can you win?? I think this is his third time in ten years!!
GRADUATE Awards ($6,000)
There were sixteen recipients of UNDERGRADUATE Awards ($4,000).
Four of the winners in the professional category are current VCU Painting graduate students. One of the winners in the professional category is a current VCU Painting undergraduate. I know of two VCU painting undergrads last year who applied for the grad prize, neither one eligible, both of whom won. The juror for the professional awards, Ingrid Schaffner, was a visiting critic at VCU last October and visited the painting grad's studios.
What is the point of having categories and residency requirements? How many of those grad students that won professional awards are staying in Virginia? Isn't part of the point of that category to support art and artists working in the state? I guess if only one or two students had won in this category I wouldn't say anything but with almost half something just seems wrong.
In the previous post regarding the selection of the OPTIONS 2005 show Libby Lumpkin writes "I suggested that, in addition to selecting artists from the official pool of applicants, I be allowed to tour the graduate school studios in the region. I know how difficult it is for young artists to keep abreast of all the exhibition opportunities available to them, and I wanted to make sure that no deserving graduate student would be excluded for not having submitted an application".
Libby, the grad students don't need any more help! The MFA programs today act as public relations firms placing students in galleries and shows, buying advertising, and setting up meetings. The MFA programs are all about the rankings; the marketing of the program and select students - to a fault. I imagine that most of the grads reading this are rolling their eyes but unless you're fortunate enough to secure a university position yourself that fantastic level of support currently enjoyed is going to dry up fast. I don't think it's good for you, it isn't good for me, and it isn't good for art. It only benefits the institution.