PAFA Announces 2015 Winners of Prestigious Travel Scholarships and Museum Purchase Prizes


PAFA Announces 2015 Winners of Travel Scholarships and Museum Purchase Prizes

Over $170,000 in scholarships competitively awarded to students


PHILADELPHIA (May 13, 2015) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to announce the 2015 recipients of its most prestigious travel prizes and museum purchase prizes. PAFA awards more than $170,000 in prizes and scholarships annually, including travel scholarships, exhibition nominations, and purchase prizes. The award-winning works are included in the 114th Annual Student Exhibition (ASE), on view May 15 through June 5 in the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, 128 N. Broad Street.

The 2015 recipients are:

Bennett Shipman (Certificate '15) of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is the 2015 winner of the William Emlen Cresson Memorial Travel Scholarship. First awarded in 1902, the scholarship recipient receives funding for European travel and full-tuition to PAFA for the two terms after completing his or her travels. Shipman was also awarded the Susan H. MacDowell Eakins Figure Painting Prize, the Benjamin West Prize, the Philadelphia Water Color Society Prize, the Irma H. Cook Prize, and the Marcia Lambert Prize for a Construction.

Chelsea Dombroskie (BFA '15) of Miami, Florida, is this year's recipient of the Richard C. von Hess Memorial Travel Scholarship. The von Hess Travel Scholarship is a one-year, full-tuition and travel scholarship for a third or fourth-year student exhibiting competitively in the ASE, on the basis of merit and financial need, and is selected by PAFA's appointed faculty. Dombroskie is also the recipient of the Charles Toppan Prize, and the Fred & Naomi Hazel Art Scholarship Award. Dombroskie is also a recipient of a Maguire Scholarship.

Kyle Babcock (Certificate '16) of Elmira Heights, New York, is the 2015 winner of the Lewis S. Ware Memorial Travel Scholarship. First awarded in 1938, this scholarship affords recipients funds dedicated to European travel. He is also the recipient of the Charles E. Dutrow Award, the Michael G. Capuzzi Memorial Endowment, the Benjamin Lanard Memorial Award, the Violette de Mazia Memorial Scholarship, the Fred and Naomi Hazell Art Scholarship Award, and the Robert and Alice Carlen Memorial Endowment.

Sarah Thompson Moore (BFA '15) of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and Christopher Otto (BFA '15) of Turnersville, New Jersey, are the winners of this year's J. Henry Schiedt Memorial Travel Scholarships. First awarded in 1949, this scholarship is awarded to two students based on outstanding merit and faculty recommendation. The scholarship grants recipients the ability to travel abroad. Thompson Moore also is a recipient of the Alexander Prize and the Ward Prize in Sculpture.

Esme "Maisie" O'Brien (Certificate/Penn BFA '16) of Dallas, Texas, is the winner of the 2015 Women's Board Traveling Scholarship. First awarded in 2006, the Women's Board Travel Scholarship is awarded to a third-year Certificate/BFA student for travel and related expenses in the summer months of the year of the award, plus a partial tuition scholarship for the subsequent academic year. In addition, there is a flexible component of the award that the student can choose to spend toward the summer travel, or apply toward additional tuition funding. Recipients are required to return full-time in the following year to complete the Certificate/BFA requirements. O'Brien also was awarded the Rose and Nathan Rubinson Prize in Memory of Wharton Escherick, and the Angelo Pinto Memorial Prize for Experimental Work. O'Brien, whose mother is a PAFA alumna, is also the recipient of a Caldwell Scholarship.

Emily Elliott (MFA '15) of Norris City, Illinois, is the winner of the Murray Dessner Memorial Graduate Travel Prize, PAFA's first travel prize at the graduate level. A noted Philadelphia artist, Dessner served as a PAFA faculty member for over 40 years. Dessner received his Certificate from PAFA, and was the recipient of a Cresson Traveling Scholarship and a Scheidt Prize, as well as a Philadelphia Art Museum Purchase Prize and a PAFA Purchase Prize. First presented this 2014, this prize honors Dessner's legacy and ensures that PAFA's Master of Fine Arts students of outstanding merit benefit, as Dessner did, from domestic or international travel. The award is presented in consideration of the quality and originality of the student graduation, wall as well as achievement over a two-year period in both classroom and studio.

Christina Ergemlidze (Certificate '16) of Philadelphia, is the winner of the Judith McGregor Caldwell Purchase Prize for PAFA's permanent collection. First awarded in 1999, this prize is given to one or more recipients whose artwork is identified as being of special significance, and therefore, worthy of inclusion in PAFA's permanent collection. The work is chosen from the ASE with the selection to be made by PAFA's President, Dean of the School, and Director of the Museum. Ergemlidze is also the recipient of the Mark Cullinane Memorial Prize in Sculpture, the Fellowship Trust Prize, the Elena and Will Barnet Prize for Abstract Art, the Lucille Sorgenti Scholarship, the Silvia S. and Miron M. Walley Memorial Scholarship, and the Plastic Club Award.

Since PAFA's first travel scholarship was awarded in 1902, recipients agree that the opportunity to travel internationally has enriched their perspectives and artistic practices in profound ways. Former winners of PAFA's travel awards include Edna Andrade, Bo Bartlett, Moe Brooker, Vincent Desiderio, Billy Blaise Dufala, Barkley Hendricks, Orit Hofshi, Alex Kanevsky, Elizabeth Osborne, and the late Ellen Powell Tiberino.

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 Hendricks,Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.