PAFA Announces 2017 Winners of Prestigious Travel Scholarships and Museum Purchase Prizes


PAFA Announces 2017 Winners of Prestigious Travel Scholarships and Museum Purchase Prizes

Over $170,000 in scholarships competitively awarded to students each year

PHILADELPHIA (May 15, 2017) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to announce the 2017 recipients of its most prestigious travel awards and museum purchase prizes.

PAFA awards more than $170,000 in awards and scholarships annually, including travel scholarships, exhibition nominations, and purchase prizes. The award-winning works are included in the 116th Annual Student Exhibition (ASE), on view through June 4 at PAFA, 128 N. Broad Street in Philadelphia. 

The 2017 top prize recipients are:  

Diego H. Rodriguez Carrión (BFA ‘17) of Luquillo, Puerto Rico, is the winner of the 2017 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. Carrión was also awarded the Woodmere Art Museum Purchase Prize, and the Rose and Nathan Rubinson Prize in Memory of Wharton Esherick.

Nicole Parker (BFA ‘17) of Ellicott City, Maryland, is the recipient of the 2017 Richard C. von Hess Memorial Travel Scholarship. This is a one-year, full tuition and travel scholarship for an undergraduate student exhibiting competitively in the ASE, and is selected by PAFA's appointed faculty. Parker also was awarded the Linda Lee Alter Award, John R. Conner Memorial Prize in Printmaking, and the Jimmy Lueders Painting Prize.

Samuel Thuman (BFA ‘17) of Baltimore, Maryland, is the winner of the 2017 Lewis S. Ware Memorial Travel Scholarship. First awarded in 1938, this scholarship affords recipients funds dedicated to European travel. Thuman was also awarded the Edna Pennypacker Stauffer Memorial Prize and is a recipient of a Fine Arts Venture Fund Award.

Erik Fuller (Certificate ‘17) of Northborough, Massachusetts, and Liza Samuel (Certificate ‘17) of Louisville, Kentucky, are the winners of the 2017 J. Henry Schiedt Memorial Travel Scholarships. First awarded in 1949, this scholarship is awarded to two students based on outstanding merit and faculty recommendation, and grants recipients the ability to travel abroad. Fuller is also the recipient of the Janet Fleisher Prize and a Fine Arts Venture Fund Award. Samuel was also awarded a Fellowship Juried Prize and the Gross McCleaf Gallery Prize.

Claire Ball (BFA ‘18) of McLean, Virginia, is the winner of the 2017 Women's Board Travel Scholarship. First awarded in 2006, the Women's Board Travel Scholarship is awarded to a undergraduate in their junior year for travel and related expenses in the summer months of the year of the award, plus a tuition scholarship for the subsequent academic year. Ball was also awarded the Gilbert M. Cantor Memorial Scholarship and the Marcia Lampert Prize for a Construction.

Rachel King (MFA ‘17) of Webster, New York, is the winner of the 2017 Murray Dessner Memorial Graduate Travel Prize, PAFA's first travel prize at the graduate level. A noted Philadelphia artist and PAFA alumnus, Dessner was the recipient of a Cresson Travel Scholarship and a Scheidt Prize while studying at PAFA, and served as a PAFA faculty member for over 40 years. First presented in 2014, this prize honors Dessner's legacy and ensures that MFA students of outstanding merit benefit, as Dessner did, from domestic or international travel.

Nhi Vo (BFA ‘18) of Hatfield, Pennsylvania, and Jessica Willittes, (Certificate ‘17) of Tempe, Arizona, are the winners of the 2017 Judith McGregor Caldwell Purchase Prize for PAFA's permanent collection. First awarded in 1999, this prize is given annually to one or more recipients whose artwork is identified as being of significance to be added to PAFA's permanent collection. The winners are selected from works in the ASE by PAFA's President, Dean of the School, and Director of the Museum.

Since PAFA's first travel scholarship was awarded in 1902, recipients note 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, the late Barkley Hendricks, Orit Hofshi, Alex Kanevsky, Elizabeth Osborne, and the late Ellen Powell Tiberino.


Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the 2005 National Medal of Arts, PAFA is a recognized leader in fine arts education with a world-class permanent collection of American art.