Press Release

PAFA Announces 2019 Fine Arts Venture Fund Recipients

Over $24,000 awarded to students to advance their artistic goals

PHILADELPHIA (February 28, 2019)—The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to announce that 12 recipients have received funding for their work through the Fine Arts Venture Fund (FAVF).

Spearheaded by PAFA trustee Anne E. McCollum, the Venture Fund was established in 2014 to support students' artistic goals and encourage their developing professional practices. The first program of its kind at PAFA, it allows students to engage in a grant-seeking process in which they develop a unique art project, write a grant proposal and, for the semi-finalists in the process, present their work to funders.

This year, the Fine Arts Venture Fund awarded approximately $24,300 to 12 applicants. The 2019 awardees include painters, sculptors, and installation artists at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A total of 47 students applied for the funding opportunity.

"Many of us who went to college only had to pay for books, but our students have to pay for all of their art-making materials, which are very costly," McCollum said. "For some, it may come down to a meal or a tube of paint. No one's creativity should be stifled because they cannot access the tools they need to create and innovate."

The funding can be used for various student-led projects from purchasing supplies to mounting an installation or starting a gallery.

"The Venture Fund [process] gets students prepared for the real world as artists," said Greg Martino, PAFA's Director of Career Services. "It gives students the chance to have their proposals measured against professional opinion."

Potential FAVF recipients submit proposals with a budget breakdown of their funding request, along with their resume and images of their work, which is then reviewed by the Venture Fund Board.

Presenting to a panel of people who work in business teaches students how to create a presentation and to enhance their public speaking abilities, among other skills, Martino said.

Marianna Williams, an artist and Assistant Professor of New Media at Augusta University, served as the outside adjudicator this year for the Fine Arts Venture Fund. She came away from the process impressed with the quality of work being produced by PAFA's artists.

"This year's Venture Fund candidates came from an incredibly competitive group of PAFA students," she said. "We selected students whose depth of practice, in form or thought, addressed contemporary conversations within the arts. From new media to painting, from conversations of living systems and urban development to queer culture and the fact and fiction of ancient history, these artists are asking us to reconsider how we see and experience the world around us."

The 2019 Fine Arts Venture Fund recipients are Charles Alston, Vera Lucia Andrade Turner, Melanie Delach, Aaron Feltman, Madison Greiner, Wenbo Gu, Michael Kondel, Silas McDonough, Kelly Micca, Cardin Moffett, Joseph Rodriguez, and Katrina Simonsen.

Joseph Rodriguez, a second-year MFA student, received $6,000 to purchase video/projection equipment that he will use to make 3D video collages. His work will be on display at PAFA this spring at the Annual Student Exhibition, on view May 10–June 2, 2019. One of the most highly anticipated events at PAFA each year, the ASE is the largest and longest-standing exhibition of its kind, featuring 1,000 works of art by students.

When he's finished using the video equipment, Rodriguez plans to donate the projectors back to the MFA program so that other artists can develop their work. He said he was thrilled to receive the funding.

"I wouldn't be able to do this project with the level of quality I wanted [without the funding]," he said. "This gives me a better chance to show some beautiful imagery."

He said it felt great to put together a successful grant request for the first time. "It's challenging to put together a proposal that non-artists can understand and get them to believe in what you're doing," he said. "It's a part of the artistic process that you don't often think about, but it's important for artists who may need funding in the future."

Last Updated
February 28, 2019 - 1:28 PM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.