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VMFA awards nearly $120,000 to 19 Visual Arts Fellowship recipients

Established through a generous contribution made by the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg in 1940, VMFA’s Visual Arts Fellowship Program marks its 84th anniversary this year.

Trevor Dickerson

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has announced the 2024–25 recipients of its Visual Arts Fellowships. This year, nineteen professional artists and graduate and undergraduate students were awarded $118,000 toward their artistic careers.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is committed to nurturing professional artists and students from throughout the Commonwealth — this is a core part of our mission,” said Director and CEO Alex Nyerges. “Each year, through one of the largest fellowship programs of its kind in the United States, we recognize and provide transformative financial resources and exhibition opportunities to help advance the artistic careers of talented Virginians.”

Recipients must be residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia and may use the award as desired, including for education and studio investments. Each year, museum curators and working artists serve as jurors to select the award recipients. This year, Jennifer Inacio, associate curator at the Pérez Art Museum Miami in Florida, served as the professional-level fellowship juror. Betsy Chunko-Dominguez, professor of art history at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, served as graduate art history juror, and Veronica Jackson, visual artist, curator, and interpretive exhibit designer in Bedford, Virginia, served as the graduate and undergraduate visual arts juror.

VMFA awarded eight professional fellowships of $8,000 each to the following artists:

  • Mamadou Dia (Charlottesville), film and video
  • Matt Eich (Charlottesville), photography
  • Ali Kaeini (Richmond), painting
  • G.M. Keaton (Richmond), new and emerging media
  • Rosalind Koons (Richmond), sculpture
  • Abed Elmajid Shalabi (Richmond), sculpture
  • Kate Sicchio (Richmond), new and emerging media
  • Yulin Yuan (Harrisonburg), mixed media

Five graduate students were awarded $6,000 each:

  • Pooja Campbell (Chantilly), painting, American University
  • Truman Deree (Burke), photography, George Mason University
  • Isaiah Mamo (Alexandria), photography, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Rebecca Oh (Richmond), painting, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Isabelle Ostertag (Charlottesville), art history, University of Virginia

Undergraduate fellowships of $4,000 each were awarded to four students:

  • Margaret Gambino (Vienna), drawing, Wake Forest University
  • Levi Mason (Arlington), photography, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Laneecia Ricks (Richmond), photography, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Kaitlyn Stanton (Vienna), painting, Rhode Island School of Design

A $2,000 half-year fellowship was awarded to Midlothian resident and Dec. 2024 graduate Patton Westphalen, who is studying film and video at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

The Cy Twombly Graduate Fellowship, supported by the McClintock Endowment, honors a two-time fellowship winner. This year’s awardee is Richmond resident Tyna Ontko, who is studying sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Established through a generous contribution made by the late John Lee Pratt of Fredericksburg in 1940, VMFA’s Visual Arts Fellowship Program marks its 84th anniversary this year. Offered through the VMFA Statewide Program, fellowships are still largely funded through the Pratt Endowment and supplemented by the J. Warwick McClintic Jr. Scholarship Fund. As a vital source of funding for the visual arts and art history, the museum has awarded nearly $6 million in fellowships to Virginians since its inception.

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Trevor Dickerson is the Editor and Co-Founder of RVAHub.